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Is a blowout in the air?

Oct 23, 2008, 6:23 AM EST

When the Washington Redskins embarked on this stretch of three “easy” games, the one that was supposed to carry them to 7-1 at midseason, I wasn’t buying it. My thinking was that in the three games there would be a loss, a close win, and a blowout win.

We got the loss against the Rams and the close win against the Browns. Is there a Motown blowout in the offing as the Redskins visit the Lions?

A simple look at the statistics would lead one to believe that a blowout win for the Skins is a distinct possibility. The Redskins are a top-ten defense and the Lions are bottom feeders on offense. Washington is third in the league in rushing offense, averaging 158 yards a game while Detroit is 31st in rush defense, allowing over 167 yards per game. And teams aren’t running against the Lions because they can’t throw—they are 31st in pass defense and dead last in total defense.

There is one number comparison to look at, however, that may well determine whether or not the Redskins can put this one away early. The Lions have been awful starters. In six games, they have been outscored 54-0 in the first quarter. Most of that came from their first game, when they trailed Atlanta 21-0 at the end of one and their last game, when the Texans went up 14-0. Still, every team they have played has scored in the first quarter and the Lions have yet to dent the scoreboard in the opening stanza.

The Redskins, however, aren’t exactly blazing out of the gates either. They have been doubled up in the first quarter, scoring 17 points and giving up 34. Other than the one-play drive after Steven Jackson of the Rams fumbled at the three, the Redskins haven’t posted a first-quarter point since the opening drive of the Arizona game on September 22.

Against the Rams and the Browns, the Redskins played right into the hands of the underdogs. They let the other, inferior team hang around and eventually each game came down to a long field goal attempt. One was true, one was wide right and the Redskins split the two games.

To their credit, the Lions have not quit after falling behind early. They answered the Falcons’ 21-point blitz with 14 unanswered in the second period. After falling behind Green Bay 21-0 they rallied to take a one-point lead in the fourth quarter before collapsing in a barrage of Packer pick-sixes.

So the trap is set. If the Redskins can’t get an early cushion the Lions have the ability to get their act together and put on a serious scoring run. The Redskins could find themselves looking up at the wrong end of a six-point game with the Ford Field crowd screaming for the home team’s first win.

Jim Zorn will need to go out aggressively and try to put up a quick score or two in order to take the momentum. Maybe this is the game for Devin Thomas, returning to his home state, to score his first NFL touchdown. Maybe this is the game for Jason Campbell let loose against the defense that he torched for 248 yards and two touchdowns at FedEx Field last year. Maybe Clinton Portis will pick up a buck-ten on about 18 carries thanks to the effectiveness of Campbell and watch Shaun Alexander finish out the game.

Maybe all those things will happen and it still will be a close game, anyway. The Redskins own the fourth quarter and they’ll have to again to hold off a game Lions team.

Redskins 27, Lions 21

  1. Joe in Raleigh - Oct 23, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    Rich, my man, 27-21? You really think this is going to be less than a 20-point blowout?! It's too late for April Fools, man.

    Remember the game last year – they came into i2 3-2 while the Skins were 3-1. Scoreless in the 1st quarter. Then we hung 14 on them in the 2nd en route to a 34-3 blowout.

    Ok, ok, that was last year. This year they're the worst team in the league and we have both a legit offense & defense. It's going to get ugly quick. I'll give them an extra TD this year because they're at home and Cal Johnson is good. 34-10.

  2. Rich Tandler - Oct 23, 2008 at 9:06 PM

    I just don’t have that blowout feeling, Joe. I think it’s a possibility and while I don’t see it being a major struggle, I don’t see a big-time blowout brewing here.

  3. Anonymous - Oct 24, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    The Redskins feel to me like a 2008 version of the old Cleveland Cardiac Kids. Until they prove me otherwise, I believe they play to the level of their opponent which means that games will have a real sense of drama as the Skins fight to win or hang on to win at the end. IMO, the score you suggest is not unlikely, however it could be that the Skins come back late to win after trailing 21-20 or perhaps they go up and let the Lions hang on like have done the past 2 weeks. We shall see.

    I still hope for the blowout though. I would feel a lot better if they could blow someone out so they can at least prove they can do it. It would be a confidence builder in some respects if they don’t let their heads get too big.

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