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The Detroit Lions have made the playoffs for the second time in three years, but they have an uphill climb to try breaking their playoff win drought. The Lions will be greeted by a raucous crowd at CenturyLink Field when they take on the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round.

The Lions enter the postseason on a downward trend, having lost their last three games. At one point they were 9-4 and controlled the NFC North, but they had to settle for the No. 6 seed after losing to the Green Bay Packers in the regular season finale. Detroit was one of the streakiest teams all year, starting off 1-3, ripping off a five-game winning streak, and then closing with this latest swoon. The Lions haven’t won a playoff game since the 1991 season, and unless their offense shows more consistency, that drought could easily extend one more year.

Matthew Stafford has mostly played well this year, leading his team to a record eight fourth-quarter comebacks. His 10 interceptions are the lowest of his career (minus an injury-shortened 2010 season) and he looks comfortable running Jim Bob Cooter’s offense. However, the running game was a problem all season and never really recovered after Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick went down with injuries. Detroit ranks 30th in the league with 81.9 rushing yards per game.

The Seahawks have problems of their own. They handily won the NFC West at 10-5-1, but injuries and major struggles on the road cost them a shot at a first-round bye. The defense hasn’t been the same since losing Earl Thomas to a broken leg, and the running game has been stuck in mud most of the year.

To give you an idea of how bad Seattle’s been on the ground, its leading rusher this season is Christine Michael. He had 469 yards and was cut before Thanksgiving. So yeah, it’s been that kind of year for the Seahawks’ backfield. Thomas Rawls averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and promising rookie C.J. Prosise is out with a shoulder injury.

It’s not surprising that Russell Wilson had to carry more of the load, but he hasn’t been helped out by one of the worst offensive lines in football. Wilson set a new career high with 4,219 yards, but the 11 interceptions are also the most of his career. He still has top-tier weapons in Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, but losing Tyler Lockett for the season is a huge blow to the passing game. The Seahawks badly miss his ability to stretch the field and flip scoreboards with his returning prowess.

If there’s one thing Pete Carroll can hang his hat on, it’s that the defense is still pretty good, even though Thomas’ loss leaves it susceptible to deep plays. The Seahawks gave up just 18.3 points per game, third-best in the league. Bobby Wagner led all players with 167 tackles, while Cliff Avril and Frank Clark combined for 21.5 sacks. Michael Bennett is back healthy and makes a huge difference in the pass rush. Richard Sherman still has the ability to take away one half of the field. This is by far the Seahawks’ strongest unit, and they’ll need it to play at a top level if they want to get any deeper into the playoffs.

These are both flawed, inconsistent teams, but the playoff atmosphere in Seattle will be electric, and it should make for fun television on Wild Card weekend.

The playoffs kick off later today with two games that are likely to be ugly and not particularly fun, like the first half of the NFL season for fans of teams other than the Falcons and Patriots. It’s fitting, isn’t it?

The Texans-Raiders game is nothing less than a disaster in the making. Houston has a good defense, but has Brock Osweiler playing quarterback, which means the offense is likely to be terrible. The Raiders, meanwhile, are down to fourth round rookie quarterback Connor Cook, which means they’re very unlikely to win. I am rooting for them to do so very hard, however.

On the other side of the ledger, we have the Lions and Seahawks. Seattle has had its struggles this year, but they should be able to dispatch the Lions, who have had one of the weakest seasons of any teams in the playoff field this year. A reminder that if the Seahawks win, they’ll be playing the Falcons next Saturday.

Here’s what you need to know. Clear your afternoon and evening, or really, just your evening.

AFC Wild Card Round

What: Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

When: Saturday, January 7, 4:35 p.m. EST

Channel: ESPN

SB Nation Sites: Silver & Black Pride | Battle Red Blog

NFC Wild Card Round

What: Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks

Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington

When: Saturday, January 7, 8:15 p.m. EST

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