LANDOVER, Md. – Lions-Redskins Final Thoughts: Adding a win next for Jeff Driskel’s resume; looking at Redskins' tape, not their record and Random Thoughts: Fast start for Lions can dictate game; Adrian Peterson still a big-play threat; win-loss stats matchup and sticking with my pick (big win for Lions, but how big?).
From the first offensive snap of his first start against the Bears two weeks ago, Driskel was fully into the game. He was prepared for his opportunity, despite being the backup to an iron-man quarterback who had started 136 straight games before being sidelined by back and hip injuries.
Driskel's mobility has been an asset that adds a dimension to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's play calling, and his command of the huddle has been solid. And after having a TD pass and a bad interception against the Bears, he threw two TD passes without a turnover against the Cowboys.
All things considered, Driskel has improved his resume – but with one big box to check with the Lions. Winning is the most important box. Quarterbacks are defined by wins and losses more than any other position in the NFL.
Driskel had a 1-4 record as the Bengals' starter at the end of last season. He is not solely responsible for the losses in his two starts with the Lions – especially considering the defense gave up three TD passes to Mitchell Trubisky of the Bears, and 509 total yards to the Cowboys last week.
"That's what we're all here to do, is win football games," Driskel said. "We've been close in these last couple of games. But that's the NFL. All games are close, and we have to find a way to win.
"We just have to make a few more plays because in the NFL, these games come down to a couple of plays, and we just have to find a way to make them."
Prep work: The old line "The eye in the sky doesn't lie" is as true today as it was decades ago when teams used film and projectors, not video and notebooks.
The Redskins' 1-9 won-loss record speaks for itself. It's a bad football team. But the game plan isn't based on the won-loss record – whether it's 9-1 or 1-9.
"The wins and losses, you take a look at maybe, you're going through the tape," said head coach Matt Patricia. "Why? What happened? What are the circumstances for the games that they've played from those situations.
"As opposed to just kind of look at just the straight line, there is probably a lot more to the story. The tape tells us a lot. That's really what we have to focus on."
Bury the lead: My primary thought for today's game is if the Lions will be able to get out to an early lead, as they did last week against Dallas, and add to it to control game – as they didn't in what was ultimately a 35-27 loss.
The Redskins do not have nearly the same offensive firepower as the Cowboys. They have not had the lead at any point in their four-game losing streak since beating Miami by a point for their only win of the season, and they've been behind at halftime in the last four games by an average of 8.75 points.
Big play, A.P.: Adrian Peterson can still gain yards when he gets through the hole. His average gain on his 10 longest runs is 19.7 yards, and he has 12 runs of at least 13 yards. As a team, the Lions have 11 runs of 13 yards or longer.
Stats matchup: There's less to go on with the Lions' three wins than there is with the Redskins' nine losses, so take these two items for what they're worth.
- The Lions' three wins have been by a total of 11 points, or 3.67 points per win. The Redskins nine losses have been by 129 points, an average of 14.3 points per game. That's a difference of 17.9 points.
- For all 10 games, the points differential is minus 28 for the Lions, and 128 for the Redskins. That's a differential of 100 points, or 10 per game.
Which brings me to the following:
Sticking with my pick: In the old days I'd have told the Godfather to pawn the silver, crack open the piggy bank and take the rubber band off the bankroll. This has the lock of the lock of the millennium. Wiser with experience – and age, OK? -- I'll just say this is a game that favors the Lions in the matchups.
Pick: Lions 27, Redskins 10.