Week 3: Lions-Redskins matchup analysis

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Detroit Lions (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at FedEx Field, Landover, Md. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber, Kris Budden
*Keys to the game: The zone-read scheme that helped Robert Griffin III set NFL rookie quarterback records for passer rating and rushing yards last season isn't clicking. Griffin has nine rushing attempts for 25 yards. Through two games as a rookie in 2012, he had 20 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Getting Griffin comfortable might be a season-long process, but feeding RB Alfred Morris on first down should leave RG3 with more reasonable down-and-distances to convert. The Lions lead the NFL in third-down defense but have spotty secondary play. With or without RB Reggie Bush (knee), the Lions will attack the Redskins' defense with a conservative passing attack to loosen up the safeties. The Redskins have given up 71 points and 1,023 yards in two games. Against the Packers last week, they gave up nine explosive plays (20-plus yards). The biggest focus for the offensive line is holding off edge rushers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.
*Matchup to watch - Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Redskins LCB DeAngelo Hall: Johnson caught six of his eight targets against Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson, including two touchdowns, and Hall has been victimized by downfield passing.
*Player spotlight - Redskins CB David Amerson: The rookie was lit up at Lambeau Field by James Jones, who had Amerson on skates from the opening drive. The Lions will find ways to test Amerson with crafty slot receiver Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles.
*Fast facts: Hall needs one INT to become the fifth active player with 40 for his career. ... The Lions have never won a game in Washington. Counting the playoff losses, they have lost 21 straight times dating back to 1939.
Points and passing yards could roll like a racecar odometer in a game both teams believe is critical to being in contention. The Lions have made more plays this season and, until Robert Griffin III rounds into form, the Redskins are fighting an uphill battle.
*Our pick: Lions 34-22

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