Here a first look at the Lions, who come into Washington at 1-1. The Redskins are favored by 1.5 points.
—The Lions are looking for the franchise’s first win ever as a visitor to Washington. They are 0-21 in Griffith Stadium/DC Stadium/RFK Stadium/Jack Kent Cooke Stadium/FedEx Field, a skid that stretches back to 1939. Of course, things have changed in Detroit. Very few are even left on the team from the Lions’ last visit to FedEx in 2007.
—They are having the same penalty issues that the Redskins are. In fact, they have committed 19 penalties for 189 yards (Redskins 17-153). And many of the penalties are coming at critical moments in the game.
—The Lions have two first-round draft picks at defensive tackle in Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh but they don’t get much in the way of results out of their D-line. They have one sack so far this year and in 2012 they had 34, just three more than the Redskins did. Their line doesn’t help them much against the rushing game either; last year they were 15th against the run. The are hoping that yet another first rounder, end Ziggy Ansah, will help. A concussion kept him out during some of the preseason but he appears to be back to good health.
—Matthew Stafford throws for a lot of yards but, man, does he throw a lot of passes to get there. Last year he passed for 4,967 yards while leading the league with 727 attempts. That’s 6.8 yards per attempt. No player has ever thrown for as many as 4800 yards while averaging less than 7 yards/attempt.
—Calvin Johnson is probably looking to get back on track against the Redskins. Most wide receivers would be happy with 10 catches for 153 yards in the first two games. But he averaged 122.7 yards per game last year in setting the NFL single-season record with 1,964 receiving yards. No doubt he’s looking for a monster game against Washington’s besieged secondary.
—Last year the Lions were minus-16 in turnover ratio, 30th in the league. That made a huge contribution to their 4-12 record and their status as the most disappointing team in the NFL. So far this year they are plus-2 with five takeaways (4 INT, 1 fumble recovery) and three giveaways (1 INT, 2 fumbles lost)
—If the game doesn’t come down to turnovers it might come down to if Reggie Bush is available. As Tarik notes in his post, Jim Schwartz is being elusive about the condition of his elusive running back. Stay tuned.