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O'HARA'S WEEK 4 PREVIEW: Goff becoming voice & heartbeat of Lions

More and more, quarterback Jared Goff is becoming the voice and heartbeat of the Detroit Lions.

Leadership is thrust on quarterbacks because of the nature of the position. Every play starts with the quarterback.

But not every quarterback willingly accepts the burden that goes with leadership.

Goff accepts it. He's the leader on a Detroit Lions' offense that has been one of the NFL's most potent through the first three weeks.

"He's got great command and control," said center Frank Ragnow. "That leads to more leadership. I think he feels pretty comfortable with the offense. Therefore, he's confident.

"It can only be great for us."

The Lions are at what at the least represents a minor turning point in their season in Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field. The Lions have to bounce back from a brutal 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. That made the Lions' record 1-2.

They have to avoid a skid to 1-3.

"It's very important -- no doubt," Goff said. "It'll be a good one for us to get our feet back under us."

Becoming a leader doesn't come only from running the offense, although that's a large part of it.

"Hopefully, it's someone guys can look to when things are bad is kind of what I try to stick with and be that steady voice," Goff said. "That guy they see every day is consistent and can provide clarity when things are kind of chaotic.

"Last week (against the Vikings), when it was loud and chaotic, I try to be as steady as possible and be that constant for those guys, and at the same time lead by example when we're in the building and be the best guy you can be."

Three keys, Lions:

1. Offense - finish: That means finishing possessions to score points and to close out games.

There is no real complaint with the offense's production in the first three games. They rank third in yards per game (409.3) and second in points (31.7).

However, they've had some costly lapses. Three straight three and outs after taking a 7-0 lead in the opener let the Eagles take advantage and build a 21-7 lead that the Lions never overcame.

And the Lions did not score in the fourth quarter in last week's 28-24 loss to the Vikings. The Vikings scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns with no answer from the Lions to win.

It's unreasonable to expect a team to score on every possession, but the Lions have the firepower to take command of this game.

2. Defense - finish: It's a more difficult chore for the defense because it hasn't shown any consistency in its performance in the first three games except for shutting out the Washington Commanders in the first half Week 2.

The defense could not get stops late in the opening-game loss to the Eagles to give the offense a chance to mount a winning rally, and it gave up two TDs in the last eight minutes of the loss to the Vikings.

3. Defense - pass rush: The Lions have to get to Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. That's something they didn't do their two losses.

They had one sack against the Eagles and one against the Vikings. They had four in the first half against the Commanders while building a 22-0 lead, then one in the second half when the Commanders scored all 27 of their points.

Bottom line for the Lions' pass rush: Three sacks in 10 quarters when opponents scored all 93 of their points. Four sacks in two quarters when they were shut out.

Seahawks' QB change: Russell Wilson was such a dominant figure in the 10 seasons he played for the Seahawks that it looks out of place having someone else playing the position.

"It's definitely weird," Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone said of seeing another quarterback playing for the Seahawks. "It is what it is. It's definitely weird."

Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos in the offseason. Smith has moved up to start after two seasons as the backup.

Smith's versatility, and the play-making threat of running back Rashaad Penny and receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett pose problems for the Lions' defense.

My pick: The Lions' edge over the Seahawks on offense is greater than the Seahawks' edge over the Lions on defense. That adds up to the Lions winning at home.

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