Sep 15, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) and head coach Mike Shanahan walk on the sidelines during the game against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Lions have never won at Washington. Can they get a win over the Redskins on Sunday? Here is what the SideLion Report staff sees for this game.
Dean Holden – Last week, I predicted a 10-point win over the Arizona Cardinals on account of the Cards’ offensive line being unable to stop the Lions’ pass rush. In fairness, I fully expected Nick Fairley to play, but I’m unconvinced that his presence in that game would have been the difference between winning and losing.
Having said that, the Detroit Lions are now looking at marching into Washington, where they have never won a football game, potentially without the services of Reggie Bush. If you want to attribute the loss in Arizona to any single player, that’s the one to look for. The Lions offense looked almost seamless in the first half with Bush on the field, then looked completely lost in the second.
Granted, the Lions might be a little more prepared to play without Bush now that they have a week to gameplan for it, but that’s not enough to make up for the loss of talent. For years now, the Lions’ offense has been high-powered when they have a speed back, and highly inefficient without one. Even if Bush plays, he won’t be close to 100 percent (think Jahvid Best with double turf toe in late 2010).
Meanwhile, Robert Griffin III gains strength in confidence in his knee with every passing game. It’s too much to say he’ll break through against the Lions, because I expect him to have a relatively modest game. But there is a very good chance that the Lions’ offense, without a healthy speed option at running back, still won’t be able to keep up. Prediction: Lions 13, Redskins 17
Matt Pelc – The Detroit Lions may be the trendy upset special pick this weekend, heading into the nation’s capital to face the reeling Washington Redskins, but I am not buying it. The team got all bent out of shape about Michigan-native Tony Dungy’s “S.O.L.” comment on Sunday Night Football. Instead of getting angry about Tony Dungy, Jim Schwartz and his team should have been angry with their performance in Arizona. Instead we heard many of the same excuses such as “not going to panic over a loss” and “good teams also have a lot of penalties.” Offering excuses instead of showing anger over a loss is one of the reasons S.O.L. is uttered so frequently.
Of course, the Lions could avoid the “same old Lions” talk, at least for one week, if they win in Washington D.C. for the first time. On paper they match up well. The offense should score on the Redskins’ pour defense, particularly their woeful secondary. Traditionally the Lions have had trouble matching up against mobile quarterbacks, but Robert Griffin III has hardly looked like his rookie version as he’s coming back from an injury.
Keep this in mind before you bury RGIII and Washington (a playoff team last year): Adrian Peterson rushed for 2,000 yards last season coming back from his injury. Yet only once in the first six games did he rush for more than 100 yards (against the Lions). It may take time to kick off the rust, and eventually you have to believe RGIII will come around, though hopefully not against Detroit.
I see this game coming down to special teams, likely a field goal, but the Lions have shown that field goals are no sure thing this season. Prediction: Redskins 27, Lions 24
Justin Simon – Even if Bush does suit up this Sunday against the Washington Redskins, look for the Detroit Lions offense to take a slight step back. I think Joique Bell can carry the load for a week and be effective enough out of the backfield, but much like last year, without Bush’s speed and open field explosiveness the offense instantly becomes limited in what they can do. The Redskins may end up using a lot of the same defensive looks that teams did last year. Play bend but don’t break, and force the Lions to complete 10-15 play drives down the field.
That said, the Skins secondary, and defense as a whole, is possibly the worst in the entire league. RGIII is still recovering mentally from his offseason ACL surgery and the sight of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly up the middle won’t ease his mind. I’m tempted to pick against them for history’s sake alone, but I see the Lions getting back in the win column this week. Lions 24, Redskins 21.
Marty Medvedik – In the third game of the season, the Lions are already facing a must-win game against the winless Washington Redskins on the road. I expect Matthew Stafford to shred the Redskins secondary when they blitz, and they blitz often. Nick Fairley will be back this week and the defense should make RG3’s life miserable for another week. The Lions end this streak in the Nation’s capital before they end the one up north in two weeks. The Lions cover the over/under of penalties being 5. They only commit 4. Lions 35, Redskins 17.
Aaron Meckes – If you simply take a look at the numbers from the first two weeks, it seems pretty clear that Detroit should be favored. Washington has struggled along the offensive line and in the defensive backfield; two areas where Detroit has a clear advantage. Calvin Johnson should run circles around the Skins secondary, and the defensive line should create a lot of pressure. This is still the Lions though, so it’ll be closer than many Lions fans feel it probably should. Detroit wins it though, 28-21.
Darin Ackerman – The Lions have lost 21 straight road games in Washington, D.C., and unfortunately for fans, that trend will continue on Sunday. With their backs against the wall and a fan base that is looking for inspiration in the face of recent tragedy, the Skins step up to the task and outscore the Lions. Expect a high scoring affair between two top ten offenses as RG III shakes the rust off and leads his team to victory. For the Lions to be successful, they front four will need to keep contain on defense and win the turnover battle. If Reggie Bush is near 100%, the Lions have a chance to exploit the league’s worst defense by pulling safeties into the box and stretch the field with a vertical passing attack. In the end, the Lions beat themselves with another penalty-riddled performance. Redskins 35 Lions 31.
Zac Snyder – Are these the “same old Lions” everyone seems to be talking about? They will have to prove they aren’t before anyone will believe otherwise. I’ve watched too many games where opposing teams suddenly “get right” against the Lions. Add in Detroit’s history in Washington and this one has all the makings of classic Lions letdown. Redskins 27, Lions 24 in overtime.