Oct 16, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks on during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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The Washington Redskins are looking to get their fifth straight win against the Detroit Lions. Will they be able to do it?
The Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions are getting ready to face off in what will be an intriguing Sunday afternoon matchup. The Redskins enter the week with a record of 4-2. They are also coming off of four straight wins. Meanwhile, the Lions are 3-3 and are coming off of a win against the Los Angeles Rams. Both squads need to get another win, so this game will be important.
Heading into the matchup, the Redskins really need a win to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are 5-1 and they beat the Redskins back in Week 2. That should help to motivate the Redskins to try and get a win.
With all of that in mind, here is an in depth preview for the Lions-Redskins game on Sunday.
Oct 16, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) rolls out as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry (75) defends during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Redskins Passing Attack vs. Lions Defense
The Redskins have seen their passing attack have success in recent weeks. Kirk Cousins has been mostly solid, though he has made some critical mistakes at times. Against the Lions, the team should have a favorable matchup overall.
The strongest player in the Detroit secondary is cornerback Darius Slay. Slay, a former second round pick out of Mississippi State, has developed into one of the best corners in the league. In 2016, Slay has been nothing short of stellar. He has defended seven passes and picked off another. He has been able to shut down the top receivers of opponents and has been an asset for the Lions.
However, across from Slay the team has not have much talent. Nevin Lawson has struggled in coverage as the No. 2 corner. At safety, Tavon Wilson has also not done too well in coverage though he has fared better in run support. Because of those issues, the Lions have ranked lowly against the pass.
The Redskins will almost certainly be able to win this matchup. While Slay will lock down one of the Redskins receivers, likely DeSean Jackson, they have an embarrassment of riches at the position. One of them will get open consistently and make Cousins’ life easier.
Oct 16, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) carries the ball past Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) chases in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Redskins Running Game vs. Lions Defense
Matt Jones has been absolutely on fire lately for the Redskins. Last week against the Eagles, the second year back had the best game of his career. He rushed for 135 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Jones also ended the game with a 57 yard run that saw him beat the Eagles defense. He used his speed to break through the defense and get outside. Had it not been the final play of the game, it would have gone for a touchdown.
Jones is going to have a favorable matchup against the Lions defense. The middle of the Lions front seven is relatively weak. Their best defensive lineman is the over-the-hill Haloti Ngata. Ngata has been average since he was acquired from the Ravens, and the Redskins offensive line should be able to handle him. That is, if he plays. He has been dealing with a shoulder injury and is questionable for the game.
As for the linebackers, Tahir Whitehead is the one who would most likely have an impact. However, the unit would be better off if stud linebacker DeAndre Levy was not hurt. Levy has been out for the last few weeks with an injury. He remains a long shot to play.
If the Redskins use Jones as a workhorse and give some carries to Chris Thompson and Robert Kelley, the team should do well against the Lions. If they run the ball well, the team will put themselves in a great position to win the game.
Oct 16, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field. Detroit won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Lions Passing Attack vs. Redskins Defense
The only way that the Lions are going to be able to have success on Sunday afternoon will be through the air. The Redskins have a solid secondary, but the Lions have enough offensive weapons to stay competitive with the Skins. Namely, Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Anquan Boldin will be featured.
Jones will likely have a tough time in this battle because he will be facing Josh Norman. Norman has been playing extremely well all season, and that should not change against the Lions. Tate and Boldin will be able to find more success. They will work against Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller on most downs. If I were Jim Caldwell, I would try to match Boldin up against Fuller a couple of times. The veteran may be able to find a weakness in the rookie’s game and make some catches.
Matthew Stafford will also hope to have his top receiving back Theo Riddick back for this game. Riddick missed last week’s game with an injury, but he caught two touchdowns the previous week. The team will receive a significant boost once he returns.
Oct 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) runs the ball against Philadelphia Eagles free safety Jalen Mills (31) during the second half of a game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Lions Running Game vs. Redskins Defense
This matchup will feature an awful running game against a mediocre run defense. The Lions do not have any real talent at the running back position. Riddick is a great receiving back, but he does not run well between the tackles. Ameer Abdullah is on injured reserve, and Dwayne Washington will have to carry the load.
However, Washington is coming off of an injury and his status for Sunday’s game is unknown. Currently, it looks like he will suit up but he may not be that effective. If he does not play, Zach Zenner and Justin Forsett will split the carries. That would be a disaster.
The Redskins are likely to perform well in this matchup. Their run defense has been better as of late, and they should be able to get some push against the Lions offensive line. Look for Ziggy Hood to step up and make some plays.
Oct 2, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 31-20. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
All of the matchups in this game seem to be going in favor of the Redskins. The team simply has been playing well, while the Lions have too many weaknesses to compete. It does not help the Lions cause that their weaknesses are in areas where the Redskins have strength.
At the end of the day, this should be a win for Washington. I think they could possibly end up winning by double digits, provided that they do not make too many mistakes.