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5 things to watch: Lions vs. Commanders

The Lions are looking for a bounce-back Week 2 performance and an even slate in the win-loss column with the Washington Commanders coming to Ford Field today. The Lions get their second crack at an NFC East opponent in as many weeks, and a chance to give the Ford Field faithful their first win of the year.

Here are five things to watch out for later today in this NFC matchup:


The Lions are dealing with some pretty significant injuries just two weeks into the season.

We know starting center Frank Ragnow (groin/foot) will miss today's game after being ruled out on Friday's injury report. Evan Brown is expected to start at center in his place.

Starting left guard Johan Jackson (finger) also did not practice Friday and is listed as doubtful to play today. He had his right ring finger wrapped while watching practice Friday. If he doesn't play, the Lions will be without three fifths of their starting offensive line just two weeks into the season.

Running back D’Andre Swift (ankle) is questionable, but it was a good sign he returned to practice in limited fashion on Friday.

Starting cornerback Amani Oruwariye (back), who missed practice Friday, is also questionable.


Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said this week he was both disappointed and encouraged by the defense's performance last week vs. Philadelphia. The Eagles racked up 455 total yards with 216 of those coming on the ground with four rushing touchdowns. Those totals, along with the 31 points allowed, are the disappointing part. But the encouraging thing for Glenn is he viewed a lot of the mistakes the Lions made on that side of the ball as correctable, if players just play within the scheme and be assignment sound.

The Commanders pose a different threat offensively than the Eagles did. Quarterback Carson Wentz isn't as mobile, but he's got some nice weapons in the pass game with wide receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel, tight end Logan Thomas, and pass-catching backs Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Can the Lions learn from last week and be better?


The third-year back out of Georgia took his first carry of the season 50 yards and kept rolling until he totaled 144 rushing yards and 175 total scrimmage yards with a touchdown in last week's season opener. Swift's 144 rushing yards put him third in the NFL in rushing after Week 1.

Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said this week he'd like to be even more versatile with Swift, who was only targeted three times in the passing game. Getting Swift in space one-on-one is a good business plan for Johnson, and the expectation is Swift will be a bigger part of the passing attack this week, on top of what he already provides in the run game, as long as the ankle injury he's been rehabbing this week doesn't prevent him from playing or limit him at all.


No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson did some good things last week with one tackle and three quarterback pressures, but there were some plays he left on the field, and he was a little too aggressive trying to make plays outside of assignment.

"I think it's just knowing when you got your opportunity you've got to make it, but when it's not yours, you try to force it, sometimes not good things happen," Hutchinson said this week.

Hutchinson can make a lot of plays, so Glenn is encouraging the aggressiveness, but he wants to see controlled and smart aggressiveness. The expectation is for that to show up against the less mobile Wentz later today.

Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez made some splash plays, and maybe more importantly didn't have any missed assignments on his way to six tackles and a tackle for loss.

Safety Kerby Joseph had a special teams tackle, but also a penalty on special teams.

With the jitters that come with playing in their first NFL game behind them, I'd expect the trio to settle down Week 2 and be even more productive on the stat sheet this week.

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday, September 16, 2022.


A sold out Ford Field was rocking in the first quarter of last week's game against the Eagles. It ranked right up there with the loudest games I've ever covered to start that contest. And when the Lions scored the opening-drive touchdown, it was really cooking.

But the Lions' offense went on a four-drive stretch where they went three and out three times and gave up a pick-six to go down double digits. It was like the life was sucked out of the building.

Credit to head coach Dan Campbell's squad for battling back in the fourth quarter and bringing the crowd back to life, but keeping that home field advantage rolling for 60 minutes will make the game so much harder for the Commanders.

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