The Seahawks’ biggest key to their NFC wild-card playoff game against Detroit just got more noteworthy.
The Lions on Friday downgraded center Travis Swanson to out for Saturday night’s game at CenturyLink Field. This will be the fifth consecutive game he’s missed while in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
That means Detroit again will start previous left guard Graham Glasgow, their third-round pick this spring, at center and have previous backup Laken Tomlinson, a 2015 draft choice, at left guard against the Seahawks.
Lions starting right tackle Riley Reiff is listed as questionable. He missed Detroit’s home loss to Green Bay last weekend with a hip injury, though he practiced more on Thursday.
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The Lions have another rookie at left tackle, first-round pick Taylor Decker.
Seahawks Pro Bowl defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett plus situational pass rusher Frank Clark need to take advantage of the Lions’ shuffling up front and get to quarterback Matthew Stafford to affect Detroit’s best chance to win: Stafford throwing it all over the yard and targeting three-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas being out injured in the middle of Seattle’s defense. Avril, Bennett and Clark combined for 26 1/2 sacks in the regular season.
The Seahawks had no surprises on their injury list Friday. Running back C.J. Prosise remains out with a broken scapula, though he did some running this week in the hopes the rookie third-round pick might try practicing next week if Seattle can advance to the divisional round at Atlanta Jan. 14. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel is out with a concussion he got in last weekend’s regular-season finale at San Francisco. That means more snaps for rookie second-round pick Jarran Reed, who has started the last three games inside on the D-line.
Coach Pete Carroll said on Thursday McDaniel, a run stopper inside, would not play against Detroit. Fortunately for the Seahawks, the Lions don’t run the ball well, or much -- at least they haven’t. They are on their third-string running back because of injuries, Zach Zenner. The 2015 undrafted free agent from South Dakota State was in the news this week after Bennett called him the best white-guy running back in the league.