Sep 20, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT
The Redskins take on the Lions at FedEx Field in what may or may not be a must-win game. Here are five things to look for plus a prediction:
1. If they can’t control Ndamukong Suh it’s going to be a long day—and it could be a short day for Robert Griffin III. A vote of players has named the Lions’ defensive tackle the NFL’s dirtiest player two straight years and even when he plays cleanly he has the potential to wreck an offensive game plan and cause bodily harm to opposing players. One offensive lineman I talked to hinted that they could try to use Suh’s aggressiveness against him by calling some draws and screens.
2. The Lions ranked third in the league in yards gained last year but 17 in points scored. That points to a very inefficient operation that had to settle for field goal attempts a lot (36 of them) and turned the ball over way too often (33 times). They seem to be buttoning up some of these issues this year. With the required small sample size warning, they are eighth in yards and fifth in scoring.
3. But if coach Jim Schwartz has to call for a field goal attempt, he doesn’t have longtime, reliable Jason Hanson answering. David Akers is now the kicker and he’s been shaky at best. Last week he missed from 52, got a reprieve thanks to a penalty but was wide right from 47 and then he had another 47-yarder blocked. He struggled last year in San Francisco and you have to think the Lions will have limited confidence if they have to call on him.
4. Not sure what more can be said about Robert Griffin III that hasn’t already been said. If he plays like he did last year the Redskins should win and do so easily. If he is off the Redskins will struggle. Does the old RG3 return all of a sudden, like flipping a switch? Or will it come in fits and starts?
5. The Lions have never won in Washington, a streak that goes back to 1939. It includes 18 regular-season wins and three in the playoffs. You can say either say that the Lions are jinxed or that they are overdue.
Redskins 28, Lions 24
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