Game Plan: Redskins (5-2) at Lions (0-6)

The Lions cannot afford to fall behind badly again. They have faced three 21-0 deficits, a 21-3 deficit and a 31-0 deficit. The Redskins have the firepower to put them in another deep hole.

GAME PLAN: The Lions cannot afford to fall behind badly again. They have faced three 21-0 deficits, a 21-3 deficit and a 31-0 deficit. The Redskins have the firepower to put them in another deep hole, so somehow they have to get pressure on quarterback Jason Campbell - think blitzes - and keep Chris Cooley, Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El from burning them for big plays. Oh, and they need to stop Clinton Portis, too. On offense, they need to get going quicker. They have yet to score a point in the first quarter this season. It would help if they could sustain some drives and chew up the clock.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Redskins CB Carlos Rogers - Johnson will face an up-and-coming corner who has contained some of the NFL's top receivers. Rogers is having an excellent season, often going against the opponents' best receiver with safety LaRon Landry shading to that side. Rogers has contained receivers like Terrell Owens and DeSean Jackson. Johnson hasn't caught more than four passes in a game since Week 2. He caught only two passes Sunday at Houston, though he had 154 yards receiving and a touchdown. Without Roy Williams on the other side, teams have an easier time concentrating on him.

Lions run defense vs. Redskins RB Clinton Portis: The Lions rank 31st in the league in run defense. Portis has 163 carries for 818 yards and seven touchdowns. The Redskins rank third in rushing, with Portis carrying the ball a ton. The Lions must be disciplined in their gaps and gang-tackle Portis when they get a chance.

Lions pass defense vs. Redskins passing offense: Detroit's pass defense ranks lower than all but one team in the league. Redskins QB Jason Campbell, TE Chris Cooley and WRs Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El could have a field day. The Lions' opponents' passer rating is 115.8. The Lions have only one interception. Cooley will have opportunities to get open against the Lions' zone coverage, and Moss will have chances to burn the Lions deep.

INJURY IMPACT: The sad part about the Lions' season is that they have been relatively healthy. The Lions are missing two safeties - Dwight Smith and Gerald Alexander - but they struggled with them. This gives Kalvin Pearson a chance to shine. Pearson has played well when he has gotten a chance.


Lions Report Top Stories