LIONS INSIDER

GAME PREVIEW: Lions looking to get back on track in the Nation's Capital

Posted Sep 22, 2013

The Detroit Lions are looking to get back in the win column with a win over the 0-2 Washington Redskins

HISTORY

Sunday's matchup will mark the 40th meeting between these two NFC teams. Washington holds the all-time edge at 27-12. The Lions have won the last two regular season meetings in the series, but have never won in Washington (0-21).

A LOOK AT THE STATS

 LionsRedskins
Record 1-1 0-2
Points per game 27.5 (6t) 23.5 (14t)
Total yards per game 395.5 (8) 402.0 (6)
Rushing yards 80.5 (21) 91.0 (18)
Passing yards 315.0 (7) 311.0 (8)
Points allowed 24.5 (20) 35.5 (31)
Total yards allowed 339.0 (15) 511.5 (32)
Rushing yards allowed 96.0 (15) 310.5 (23)
Passing yards allowed 243.0 (15) 310.5 (23)
Turnover ratio +2 (7t) -1 (17t)

BY THE NUMBERS

14.3: Percent efficiency rate on third down for the Lions defense. Detroit has held opponents to 3-of-21 on third downs after two weeks. Next best is Kansas City with 8-of-30 (26.7%).

10.4: Percentage of quarterback Matthew Stafford's passes that have been dropped by Lions receivers this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information, which is the highest percentage in the league.

21: Road-game losing streak against Washington.

30: Missed tackles for the Redskins defense, according to ProFootballFocus.com, through the first two weeks of the season.

KEY MATCHUPS

QB Robert Griffin III vs. Lions DEs

Lions defensive end Willie Young said the Lions want to enforce their will on the Redskins offense early and want Griffin to have to adjust to them, instead of the other way around.

The read option and the stretch runs put pressure on the defensive ends to be sound in their keys. The Redskins like to get out wide with their speed and it's up to the ends to set the edge in certain situations and funnel everything to the middle of the field.

"The heck with the ends, how about me and the rest of the coaches?" defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham when asked about the Griffin and the pressure he puts on the ends.

"He is something. He is a heck of a player. I don't even know if you call him a quarterback, he is just a really good football player all around.

WR Calvin Johnson vs. CB DeAngelo Hall

The last time Calvin Johnson faced the Redskins was back in 2010 and he had nine catches for 101 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Eight of those catches, 82 yards and two scores came on Hall.

The Redskins will rely on Hall to cover Johnson most of Sunday's game, but he'll have help over the top. The Redskins won't leave him on an island.

"I'm not going to change the way I do things," Johnson said. "When we play each other he's not a loud mouth or anything like that, he's just trying to make plays. I've played him a couple times and we haven't had any problems."

LB's Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo vs. T's Riley Reiff and Corey Hilliard

The Lions have only allowed one sack through two weeks and that was more a coverage sack last week vs. Arizona than anything else.

This week, they will face two versatile rushers in Kerrigan and Orakpo, who are both around 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, and have four sacks between them.

Reiff and Hilliard have played well these first two weeks and the Lions offensive line as a whole has been good early on. They'll be tested agin today.

"Well, they have played very well and they have played against good guys," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said.

"Every week, it's the NFL, you're going against premier pass rushers. It's not just the left tackles anymore. The right tackle has got as big, like (Ryan) Kerrigan has three sacks, of a challenge as the left guy. They have played well so far. If they just stay playing as confident as they have been, we have all the confidence in the world in them."

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: LIONS

Joique Bell, RB:

Running back Reggie Bush is expected to play today, but I'm guessing the Lions will pick and choose their spots with him and not subject that sore left knee to unnecessary pounding if they can save it. That means Bell could see his touches increase this week.

Bell is one of three NFL running backs (Matt Forte and Darren Sproles) with 10-plus catches (10) and 100-plus receiving yards (108).

Brandon Pettigrew, TE:

Pettigrew had a tough outing in Arizona last week. He had three catches for 32 yards, including a nice 17-yard catch late in the game, but he was unable to make a number of crucial catches across the middle of the field that would have kept drives alive. He needs a big game to jump-start his season.

Ziggy Ansah, DE:

Ansah has been disruptive his first two games and could have 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles if not for a couple unlucky penalties by teammates on impact plays of his. Ansah's speed and athleticism should be on display today against the read-option offense and outside running game of the Redskins. Ansah can run and Lions safety Louis Delmas said today's game was going to be a track meet.

OTHER PLAYERS TO WATCH: REDSKINS

Alfred Morris, RB:

Morris has rushed for 75-plus yards in 16 of 19 career games (including playoffs) with eight 100-yard games. The Lions have done a good job bottling up the run the first two weeks (96.0 yards per game), but since Week 12 of last year, Morris has rushed for 896 yards (112 per game) and nine touchdowns, which rank second and first in the NFL, respectively.

Pierre Garcon/Santana Moss, WRs:

The Redskins try to get Garcon the ball in a lot of different ways with jailbreak screens, bubble screens and passes down the field, according to Schwartz. It's something the Lions really have to be conscious of. Santana Moss is a veteran receiver, who knows how to find the open spots in the defense. Moss has been a thorn in the Lions side the last few times they've played. He needs just 190 yards to reach 10,000 for his career.

London Fletcher, LB:

Amazingly, Fletcher has never missed a game in 16 NFL seasons. That's 242 straight. He's seen just about everything a defender can see in this league and he's a smart player at 38 years old. He's had 12-straight 100-tackle seasons.