When the Lions have the ball
Jeff Driskel is in line to start for the third consecutive game, and his previous two outings have been promising. He clearly doesn’t have the arm strength or accuracy of Stafford, but he hasn’t made too many glaring mistakes and has given the Lions the chance to win both games.
His best asset is his mobility and his ability to escape the pocket to pick up yards on the ground, and the Lions should look to use this to their advantage against the NFL’s fifth-worst rushing defense. If Driskel can avoid too many lost yardage plays and hit receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones for a handful of downfield completions, the Lions should have little trouble moving the ball.
The ‘Skins’ secondary is led by emerging cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who is tied for sixth in the NFL with three interceptions, and safety Landon Collins, who joined Washington this offseason with a monster six-year free-agent contract. Collins has played well in spurts, but it hasn’t been nearly enough to solve their myriad defensive issues.
The rest of the secondary has been inconsistent. Once-dominant cornerback Josh Norman‘s best days seem like an eon ago, and backups Fabian Moreau and Jimmy Moreland have struggled. Still, Washington defensive backs have picked off seven passes.
On the ground, the Lions’ eternal search for consistent contributors in the offensive backfield continues, though they were able to register their second-highest rushing yardage total of the year in last week’s loss. Seven running backs have carried the ball for the Lions this year, the latest being Bo Scarbrough, who had a nice NFL debut with 55 hard-earned yards and his first NFL touchdown.
The Lions seem likely to be without starting center Frank Ragnow, who is currently in concussion protocol. Graham Glasgow would slide to center in Ragnow’s place, flanked by Kenny Wiggins and Joe Dahl. This would likely hamper the Lions’ peculiar season-long practice of rotating their guards, and it will be interesting to see if that helps or hinders the unit’s performance.
They will do battle with a defensive line that like the Lions, has a distinct University of Alabama flavor. Former Crimson Tide standouts Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne are powerful, versatile players who can wreak havoc all over the front. Allen is questionable to play with a leg injury.