The Lions roll into FedEx Field Sunday to see what RG3 and the Redskins’ 0-2 start have waiting for them. Off the bat this match up doesn’t historically line up well for Detroit as they’ve never won in Washington while not mentioning this is back to back weeks on the road for a team that isn’t typically good on the road. But it’s not all bad for Detroit looking into this week offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and his group have to be licking their chops about this Redskins defense as they’ve been torched to the tune of 500 yards in both of their first 2 game.
What to watch out for
The Redskins’ offensive attack will change. They have been pass happy while being cautious with RG3. Alfred Morris came out of nowhere last year and is averaging 6.1 yards a carry but has only seen the ball 25 times in the first two games. A lot has to do with the Defense getting torched and moving the game plan to catch up mode. But still, 12 carries a game for a guy that had 1,600 yards last year is not enough. Also late in the Green Bay game last week we saw Griffin get a little more comfortable in terms of feel for the pocket. So I could expect to see a little more of the pistol read option for RG3 and if his legs are under him this could be a shoot out.
What the Lions should do
Attack the field. There is really no reason outside of poor execution that this offense is so hot and cold, from a team that looks unstoppable to the team that couldn’t get a 2nd half 1st down. Detroit needs to take advantage of this Washington secondary’s inability to cover a wide out. Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush should be a much taller order than DeSean Jackson and Randall Cobb. Detroit also has a better offensive line at this point than both Green Bay and Philly. But Detroit’s game plan isn’t always reliable. The Lions should look to go over the top with Johnson early and open up a tight end and Reggie Bush in the screen game. The issue at hand is whether or not a TE is up to answer the challenge… Paging Brandon Pettigrew and/or Tony Scheffler?
Detroit should also look to close the pocket on RG3 on the first drive of the game, establish the fear and make him play with hesitation. They better make RG3 throw from the pocket, he has put up nice numbers if you’re looking for a a fantasy football QB, but being down a ton at the half has a way of making a box score look better, look no further than Stafford last year. Griffin as a pocket passer is still immature and his value is in the breakdown after the first target is gone, the ability to scramble, run, and make a throw is off the charts. It’s chaos in midst of a play when RG3 butters his bread. They also need Louis Delmas to play smarter in the back 7 and when he comes up to the line to make a play he cannot miss big tackles.
The Lions on the other hand are going to do one thing and one thing only. Detroit is going throw the football 45+ times and look to get Megatron the ball 10 and Reggie Bush the ball in space 7-8 times. This would all be fine if Bush is able to go at 80/90% and someone else makes it hurt. But the drops in addition to the penalties continue to kill Detroit.
I see a shoot out in this game. RG3 is going to show he is back and there is no reason to respect the Lions Secondary. Stafford has to be thinking the same thing after seeing Vick and Rodgers absolutely own the Redskins’ back 7. In the end I don’t trust Detroit in crunch time.