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Lions vs. Washington Redskins: Preview and Prediction for Week 3 NFC Clash

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COMMENTARY | What a difference a week makes. Fans who were lauding the new Detroit Lions after the season-opening win are now bemoaning the Same Old Lions after a loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Such is the up-and-down nature of an NFL season.

Now, the Lions travel to the nation's capitol to take on the Washington Redskins, where Detroit's record stands at 0-21 all time. Will this be the year the Lions finally notch that elusive road victory?

Keys to a Lions Victory

1. Get an Interior Push

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III hasn't been comfortable planting his front foot and throwing with authority following his offseason knee surgery. That lack of stability is causing him to put too much air and not enough zip on his passes, leaving the offense as hobbled as its quarterback.

However, one of these weeks, everything will click back into place, Griffin's confidence will return and he'll revert back to RG3.

But the Lions can do something to postpone the inevitable. With defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, they can create vital pocket-collapsing pressure from the inside. That will cause Griffin to think about taking that strong step forward necessary to deliver accurate throws. And once a quarterback starts thinking too much or throwing passes off his back foot, wonky things happen.

2. Continue Controlling the Trenches

Detroit's offensive line has been outstanding thus far. Only right tackle Corey Hilliard, who is starting because of the injury to Jason Fox, has received a negative grade from Pro Football Focus .

Therefore, Detroit should be able to control the line of scrimmage considering Washington hasn't been overly impressive in creating pressure. Yes, the Redskins have seven sacks, which is more than Detroit's five, but they have only accounted for 18 quarterback hurries, a far more indicative stat of disruption.

And playing well up front will do more than keep quarterback Matthew Stafford upright. The offensive line will likely be more responsible for the running game than usual this week as it isn't likely that running back Reggie Bush will be able to go. And even if he plays, he won't be 100 percent. Thus, the line must open up holes for backup Joique Bell and make blocks at the second level whenever the big guys get a chance.

3. Don't Turn The Ball Over

The Redskins secondary hasn't just been bad, it's been somewhere between atrocious and Michigan-losing-to-Akron-at-home disastrous. Through two games, their defense has been victimized to the tune of 1,023 yards and 71 points.

Get the picture? This team would have trouble slowing the Jacksonville Jaguars, never mind stopping them.

Well, maybe not, but that's a discussion for a different day.

Anyways, the Lions shouldn't have any problems putting up points provided they don't get in their own way. Penalties and turnovers are the easiest way to thwart a dominant performance.

Here's betting Detroit already knows that.

Important Matchup: Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson vs. Washington's Defensive Backs

Let's not overcomplicate matters.

As mentioned, the Washington secondary is terrible. That's why Stafford and Johnson need to exploit their obvious advantage throughout the game, not just once or twice to open things up for everyone else.

The logic is simple.

Bush will be out or less effective, Ryan Broyles will be shaking off some rust if he makes his debut, and no one else on the team has that special burst.

Therefore, these two need to have some fun Sunday. The Redskins won't mind.

How the Game will Go Down

The Lions will start fast by letting Johnson loose, putting Washington into yet another early-game hole. The difference between this week and last will be Johnson getting a second half score, giving him three on the afternoon. RG3 will get some stats, but the defensive line will make things difficult on him, leading to a pair of interceptions.

Final Score: 31-27

Brandon Alisoglu has been covering the Detroit Lions for two years. He has been published at Yahoo, Bleacher Report, CNN and other websites. He also co-hosts a podcast called Lions Central Radio with Nick Kostora that can be found on ITunes and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter for more football talk.

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