Five to Watch
1. Chad Rinehart.
He'll make his first start; heck, he'll play for the first time. And he'll be next to a player in Stephon Heyer who has struggled. Randy Thomas could bail out Heyer and help him with assignments. Heyer is not a good player, so this side of the line could be troublesome. Rinehart is stronger than last year and the coaches say they like his footwork, at least in comparison to Will Montgomery. Rinehart will face Grady Jackson, a run-stuffer but not a pass-rusher. He'll have to be concerned with linebackers blitzing.
2. Jason Campbell.
In two games against Detroit, Campbell has posted his two best passer ratings. It's a different defense, of course, but still not a good one. The opportunities for big plays in the passing game will be available. He must hit his receivers down the side when he has the chance – that's been a problem since camp started – and his teammates must help him in the red zone. Campbell played pretty well last week, but the points did not reflect that. If he plays a similar game the Redskins will be fine.
3. Santana Moss.
The Lions have surrendered eight touchdown passes this season. That's quite a few. They do not have much of a pass rush. They have name players at corners – Phillip Buchanan and Anthony Henry – but neither is all that goo d anymore. So the chance for big plays should be available for Moss, if he's not double teamed as much as the past two games. It's not as simple as moving him around; defenses can adapt to that. Really, it's about hitting him downfield as he runs past the safety.
4. Carlos Rogers.
The Redskins will not simply let him cover Calvin Johnson one-on-one all game. They doubled him a decent amount last year and would be wise to do the same. However, Rogers will find himself locked in man coverage on occasion. Rogers is off to a decent start; he can't allow Johnson to make big plays.
5. LaRon Landry.
Gotta admit, we've been disappointed in his first two games. Too many bad angles to the ball and that has to change. And he just doesn't get to enough passes. Will that change facing a rookie quarterback in Matthew Stafford? Landry's biggest thing will be making sure Johnson doesn't hurt them downfield.
1. The Redskins will score a touchdown in the red zone.
As long as they don't try a trick pass in an obvious passing situation, they should be good for at least one score inside the 20. We have a hunch it could be more, but we're not ready to predict that just yet. Look for Jim Zorn to be less predictable inside this area Sunday. That means not running to the same side for four straight plays. But Zorn's playcalling has not been th e biggest issue; the O-line is a bigger problem.
2. The Redskins will intercept one pass.
Stafford has thrown five picks in two games because he's trying too hard to squeeze the ball into tight spots. In other words, he's a typical rookie QB with a big arm. Our guess that either DeAngelo Hall or Fred Smoot will intercept a pass. It'll set up points for the Redskins.
3. The Redskins will win.
A team that's 0-2 and has lost 19 straight and has lost by double digits in each of their first two games has become the fancy pick? Come on. Yes, the Redskins have struggled and we certainly think the Lions could win. But they need to show more than simply leading a game at halftime. They have a bad defense (and are missing one of their top players in LB Ernie Sims) and a rookie quarterback. Washington also knows how badly it must win this game, for the psyche of the team and the city. If the Redskins really want to get people excited they must win by more than a few points. We don't think that will happen. But we do think they'll win. Redskins 17, Lions 10.
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