DETROIT — Jay Gruden would like to see his defense produce more turnovers. As long as that unit remains stingy about giving up points, the Washington Redskins coach isn't going to fret over the lack of takeaways.
The Redskins (4-2) forced only one turnover over the last two games but they haven't allowed an offensive touchdown over the last seven quarters.
That allowed them to extend their winning streak to four games.
They will be seeking their first five-game streak since 2012 when they play at Detroit on Sunday.
“It's been good,” Gruden said of his defense. “The first two victories, we got a lot of takeaways and gave up a lot of yards. The last two weeks, we haven't given up a lot of yards but we haven't gotten any takeaways.
“Imagine what we could do if we don't give up a lot of yards and we get takeaways. We'd be pretty good. But I'm happy with the way they're playing. We're not giving up big plays, momentum-swinging type plays.”
Many Redskins fans weren't happy with the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins during the first two games. The catcalls have quieted somewhat during the winning streak, in which Cousins has thrown eight touchdowns and three interceptions.
One of those turnovers was returned for a touchdown by Philadelphia last Sunday but the Redskins still emerged with a 27-20 victory.
Washington achieved offensive balance in that game, rolling up 493 total yards, and hope that trend continues. Matt Jones led three running backs who combined for 231 rushing yards with a career-high 135 on 16 carries.
“If we can put up 500 yards of offense 16 times, we'd be a pretty good offense,” said Cousins, the former Michigan State star who will be playing in his home state for the first time as a pro.
“There's always going to be plays where you feel like you could have had 600 yards of offense or 700 yards of offense, but we did some good things. We ran the ball well and made the plays we had to make but we're always going to go back and say, 'How can we be better?'”
The Redskins can get off to a 3-0 start on the road for the first time since 1999 with a win. They're also shooting for their sixth straight road victory, something they haven't done since 1991.
They hope tight end Jordan Reed can return after missing the Eagles game with a concussion.
Detroit (3-3), which will complete a stretch of three home games, has won two straight on late field goals by Matt Prater.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who will be playing in his 100th career game, has thrown seven touchdown passes over the last two games while completing 75 percent of his passes without an interception.
Stafford's 14 touchdown passes tie him for third place in the league but he shrugs off praise over his recent outings.
“It's the same way I feel when people say I'm terrible and I'm the reason we're losing; I don't pay too much attention to it,” he said. “We're winning games because we have talented players on this team.
“On the offensive side of the ball, my job is just to get the ball in their hands and let them go. They've been doing that the last couple of weeks.”
The Lions required fourth-quarter comebacks in all of their victories, which Stafford considers a mental edge.
“We're a tested team,” he said. “We haven't come out on the right end of all those, like we wish we could have, but that's what the NFL is all about. Games come down to the fourth quarter a majority of the time.
“No question we'd like to be up 21 in the fourth quarter of every game but it doesn't happen that way. There are evenly-matched teams in this league and you've got to go out there and make the plays to win the game.”
Detroit hopes that its No. 1 running back, Theo Riddick, will return this week after missing the 31-28 victory over Los Angeles last Sunday with an ankle injury.
The teams haven't played since 2013, when the Lions pulled out a 27-20 victory.