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Is the Seahawks' defense going soft?

Seattle has earned accolades for a fearsome defense this season, but the unit struggled mightily against Detroit last week, as the Lions converted on 12 of 16 third downs and six of them for 8 yards or longer in a 28-24 Lions win. That kind of breakdown may be just the opportunity that struggling Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder needs.
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As the Minnesota Vikings prepare for a 3:05 p.m. CT showdown Sunday with the Seahawks, one question lingers: How good is the Seattle defense anyway?

The Seahawks have earned accolades for a fearsome defense this season, but the unit struggled mightily against Detroit last week, as the Lions converted on 12 of 16 third downs and six of them for 8 yards or longer in a 28-24 Lions win, the Associated Press noted. Tthe Lions also had 26 first downs.

Another interesting stat from the AP: the Seahawks have allowed 16 conversions in 37 plays of third-and-10 or more. No other team in the NFL has allowed more than nine.

That kind of breakdown may be just the opportunity that struggling Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder needs. Of course, it won't be a cakewalk. Seattle ranked No. 1 in the NFL in total defense just a couple of weeks ago.

So which Seattle D will show up this week? The one that the Bellingham Herald notes has looked dominant at times, or the one that has shown its youth and inexperience?

Here's how they match up, with stats from CBSsports:

Pass offense: Vikings 206.6 (27th); Seahawks, 171.1 (31st)

Rush offense: Vikings 133.2 (7th); Seahawks 131.9 (8th)

Pass defense: Vikings 224.1 (12th); Seahawks 227.1 (13th)

Rush defense: Vikings 107.6 (16th); Seahawks 84.9 (5th)

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