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Week 7 Preview: Redskins at Lions

The Detroit Lions (3-3) have won two games in a row and finish a three game home stand against the Washington Redskins (4-2). The game will be 1 PM (ET) at Ford Field on FOX. The Redskins are red hot as well winning four in a row after a 0-2 start. Detroit will look to keep its momentum going against a solid team. Lets’ analyze the key matchups, statistics, injuries and predictions for this game.

Lions Passing Offense

Matt Stafford is on fire. Stafford has a 106 rating after a 4 TD 0 interception performance against the Rams. Stafford is third in QB rating, second in completion percentage, second in TDs and eight in YPA. He has 33 TDs and 6 interceptions in his last 14 games with Cooter. Stafford is an elite QB right now and will look to keep his strong play against the Redskins.

The Redskins allow an average (14th) 89.6 QB rating and have forced 16 sacks in 6 games led by Trent Murphy (5 sacks) and Ryan Kerrigan (4.5 sacks). Washington has allowed six touchdowns and notched four interceptions. Josh Norman leads the way and will shadow Marvin Jones. Brashaud Breeland is a solid corner as well against Tate and Will Blackmon has boosted the Washington free safety spot after the injuries to DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton. Su’a Cravens is a talented rookie LB/safety hybrid that has missed the last two games with a concussion. If Cravens returns it boosts the Redskins defense as well.

The Lions will need another big game from Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin in Week 7. Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron are still dealing with ankle and ankle/knee injuries respectively. It would really help Detroit to get one or both players back this week for the passing game.

As always, protection will be the key to Stafford’s success. The Lions have protected Stafford well for the last 3.5 weeks. Decker and Reiff are good tackles right now and Swanson is the 6th best center in the game right now. Swanson suffered an injury on a dirty play by Aaron Donald on a kneel down play so hopefully Detroit doesn’t lose Swanson.

Laken Tomlinson has struggled but did better in Week 6 despite facing Donald and switching to right guard (for an injured Larry Warford). Hopefully, Warford returns from a hip injury to boost the Lions pass protection and run game. If not Graham Glasgow will play left guard. If Swanson is out too, then Glasgow will play center and another rookie Joe Dahl will play left guard. The Lions need some health on their interior offensive line and to keep the pass protection strong.

Lions Run Offense

Zach Zenner did well in Week 6 with 4.1 yards per carry. The Lions have injuries to their top three running backs and hope to get Theo Rididck and Dwayne Washington back this week. Riddick and Washington have had success running the ball this year. The good news for Detroit is Washington is dead last allowing 5.0 YPC. Detroit should be able to run well on the Redskins.

Lions Pass Defense

Kirk Cousins is 18th with an 89.7 rating on the year but Captain Kirk has been much better during the four game win streak. Kirk Cousins has thrown 9 TDs and 6 interceptions on the year with 65% and 7.5 YPA. The Washington QB is still a threat especially since Detroit is not generating pressure and therefore getting torched but even the worst QBs in the league.

Detroit is allowing a league worst 119.6 passer rating with 17 TDs and 3 interceptions, 73.7 completion percentage and 8.2 YPA. The saving grace is Detroit has played clutch defense in the last two fourth quarters and forced 3 turnovers to win games. They also played well in Week 2 and 4 in limiting points scored and the second half of the Green Bay game. It hasn’t all been bad but when it’s gone wrong, it has really gone wrong for Detroit on defense. Detroit must rebound in coverage as they did in the second half of the 2015 season. We’ll see if Levy ever returns and if the return of Haloti Ngata, Josh Bynes or Jon Bostic could help the defense going forward.

Detroit needs a pass rush badly. Ziggy Ansah returned in Week 6 but was still rusty. Devin Taylor had a sack but is way too inconsistent and Kerry Hyder had some pressure but not enough as a backup. Detroit has talent at defensive end but is not getting consistent production.

The Lions defensive tackles are struggling to generate any pressure and will miss Haloti Ngata for the second game in a row. Tyrunn Walker, Stefan Charles, A’Shawn Robinson and Kyri Thornton need to figure out how to push the pocket. Detroit is not hitting on their blitzes. If Ansah returns to form and Detroit hits on some blitzes, they can rattle Cousins and force a few turnovers. If they don’t do that, THEY WON’T LIKE THAT and Cousins will have a huge day.

DeSean Jackson (333 yards and 15.1 YPC), Pierre Garcon (307 yards and 1 TD) and Jamison Crowder (283 yards and 3 TDs) are very solid weapons for Cousins. Jackson is a huge deep threat. Also, Jordan Reed (316 yards and 2 TDS) is a very good tight end but missed the last game with a concussion. Reed out would be very beneficial for the Lions who struggle with covering tight ends. Vernon Davis would have to prove some people right and have a big day if Reed can’t play in this game.

The Lions need to fix their pass rush and cover the middle of the field much better than they have been to turn the abysmal pass defense statistics around quickly. Slay and Quin are playing well. Lawson and Diggs and Rafael Bush finally showed signs of life. The linebacker coverage needs a shot in the arm against tight ends and running backs.

Lions Run Defense

Lions run defense showed some signs of life against the Rams. They held Gurley to 4.1 YPC and the Rams to 3.5 YPC on the day. Matt Jones averages 4.9 YPC on 89 carries with 3 TDs. Chris Thompson has chipped in 4.6 YPC and a TD as well. The Redskins rushing attack is somehow good and the Lions will need another good day in a row stopping the run.

Prediction

The Lions and Redskins are both hot teams. The Lions are at home again and have a great QB. Detroit should have running success against the worst rushing defense in the league. This game will most likely be another shoot-out for Detroit but Detroit is strong in close games. Detroit wins on another late Matt Prater field goal 30-27. Detroit needs another home win before two tough games on the road before the bye. Plus I need to be able to make fun of the local Redskin fans.