The Detroit Lions (3-3) will host the Washington Redskins (4-2) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ford Field.
Detroit is coming off of a last minute win against the Los Angeles Rams, and Washington defeated the Eagles 27-20 last week.
The Redskins rank in the top half of the league in terms of passing yards allowed per game, so Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will be key in this game. Stafford threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns against the Rams. He will have to make big throws in the game against a talented Redskins secondary.
The Lions’ backfield is still banged up as starting running back Ameer Abdullah is on injured reserve and backup running back Theo Riddick is questionable. The good news is, third string running back Dwayne Washington is expected to play this week. If Riddick is sidelined, Washington would share carries with Zach Zenner and Justin Forsett. Zenner ran for 58 yards on 14 carries last week.
Detroit’s receivers have had an up and down year. When one receiver is playing well, the others are not. Golden Tate exploded last week against the Rams finishing with eight catches, 165 yards and a touchdown. While Marvin Jones had just two catches, 10 yards and a touchdown. Redskins cornerback Josh Norman will likely cover Jones most of the game, leaving Tate and Anquan Boldin with better matchups.
Former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins leads the Redskins offense, and should be able to find holes in the suspect Detroit secondary. The Lions rank in the bottom half of the league in passing yards allowed per game, and Cousins threw for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception last week against Philadelphia.
Matt Jones leads Washington’s rushing attack. He finished last week’s game with 135 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. The Lions have been good at stopping opposing backs, but they are susceptible to big plays. They give up one or two a game on the ground, and that could be the difference in the game this week.
The Redskins receivers are led by DeSean Jackson and tight end Jordan Reed. Reed missed last week with a concussion and is questionable for this week. He hasn’t practiced much and isn’t likely to play. Vernon Davis is the Redskins backup tight end and he could be in for a big day as Detroit has been very generous to tight ends this season. The Lions have given up seven touchdowns to tight ends in just six weeks. Jackson is a deep threat and can break open a game at any moment. He finished last week’s game with four receptions for 55 yards.
Keys to the game:
Turnovers will be huge in this game. Whoever wins the turnover battle, should win this game. The Lions have been forcing turnovers in recent games, and they have been able to pull out some big wins. They will need to force more in this game to come out with the victory.
Detroit’s passing game will need to be aggressive because the Redskins secondary is pretty good. Norman will likely cover Marvin Jones most of the game, but Stafford and the Lions will still have to find ways to get him the ball.
Matt Jones has been running the ball extremely well the past couple of weeks and the Lions’ front seven needs to be able to slow him down. If he gets going, Detroit could be in trouble.
In the end, the Redskins will make enough plays to win the game. Norman will give Stafford and the Lions offense problems, and the Redskins run game will get going. Detroit will hang around, but the Redskins have too many playmakers for the Lions to win.
Redskins 34, Lions 27.