Matt: Lions 27, Redskins 24
I’m confident that the Lions offense will be able to score enough points to win, but will the defense come up with enough stops to get the win? My gut tells me that they can. As always, the defensive unit will rely on strong play from the guys up front. They’ve been good at forcing turnovers, and I have to believe that it’s a direct result of the pressure the front applies. Plus, it’s a blackout game. Don’t they always play better when the game isn’t available on local TV?
Latif: The Lions have had two weeks to prepare for the 31st ranked defense in the NFL.Three of the six opponents the Lions faced before the bye ranked in the top ten in defense (Giants being 2nd, Chicago being 5th and Minnesota being 6th). The Rams, coming into the Lions game, were only giving up 10.5 points. The Packers were far more healthy when playing against us and were a top ten defense at the time, so were the Eagles when we played them. Still, the Lions offense managed to put up 24.3 points per game in the past six games with our backup quarterback in there. With a fully healthy roster and two weeks of preparation,I don’t think 30+ points is too much to ask from this team.
I think the bigger question is definitely on the defensive side of the ball. Lions linebackers, as terrible as they have been in run support, have been great with tight ends, allowing less than 37 yards receiving to tight ends (and they’ve played some good ones in Visanthe Shiancoe, Jermichael Finley, Brent Celek, and Greg Olson). I think Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith will do a solid job on Santana Moss and whoever the Redskins decide to start opposite of him. The biggest issue will be whether or not they can get to Donovan McNabb. The offensive line is weak, but McNabb is still very mobile and still has a knack for making plays. If they can keep him in check, then the Lions should have an easy win.
As I predicted to Ryan Estorninos over at Riggo’s Rag, I think this is a Lions blowout. I expect the Lions to win by a margin of 34-17 as I expect that the defense will do a decent job on McNabb and the rest of the Redskins offense, and the offense will score quite a few points on the worst defense they have faced thus far in the season.
Zac: This game scares me even though the Lions are favored. Maybe that is the reason I am so apprehensive about it. My heart wants to pick the Lions here but my head still has a lot of issues picking something that has happened so rarely over the last decade.
The Redskins probably have more talent than the Lions but winning games is a lot more than just collecting talent. The Redskins have always had talent over the years but they other constant that has hung around has been dysfunction. Albert Haynesworth has been the latest poster boy for such dysfunction but he is coming off his best game since joining Washington on his $100 million contract. I have seen so many teams “get right” playing the Lions that I fear that it will happen again this weekend.
Time to put fears aside! Matthew Stafford will be charged up in his return to the field and will take advantage of the Redskins’ poor pass defense to lead the Honolulu blue and silver to victory. Lions 27, Redskins 20
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