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Previewing the Washington Redskins and keys for a Detroit Lions win

Lions wrap up NFC East crossover against Washington

Detroit Lions quarterback's Jeff Driskel (2) and Matthew Stafford watch during warmups before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions (3-6-1) are heading to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Redskins (1-9) Sunday. The Lions are favored to win for the first time in a month as they’re taking on rookie QB Dwayne Haskins and the 1-win Redskins.

Let’s look at some stats on the Redskins and some of their key players before looking at keys for the Lions to win.

Offense: The Redskins have one of the worst offenses in the league. Before a late fourth quarter touchdown last week, they hadn’t scored a touchdown in four games. They average the worst points per game (12.5) and yards per game (255.7).

At QB, the Redskins are starting former Ohio State Buckeye Dwayne Haskins. He set records at OSU last year but hasn’t gotten off to a great start in the NFL just yet.

The Redskins have a blast from the past at running back in Adrian Peterson, and they recently got Derrius Guice back from injury.

At receiver, they don’t really have a big-name guy. They do have rookie Terry McLaurin from Ohio State, expect him to get some targets from his college QB Haskins.

Defense: Washington’s defense ranks near the middle of the NFL. They are better against the run than the pass.

They’ve a couple notable names in the secondary in S Landon Collins and CB Josh Norman, but Norman is inactive vs the Lions.

Up on the defensive line they’ve got Ryan Kerrigan and a guy some Lions fans wanted in this year’s NFL draft in Montez Sweat.

Special Teams: Washington’s kick returner Steven Sims Jr. is a guy to watch for. The Lions have opted to let teams return kicks this year so Sims should have a couple chances to break a return.

Lions’ keys to win

Don’t let Haskins get comfortable: This is the third game this year the Lions are facing a rookie QB. It hasn’t really mattered who is throwing the ball though as the Lions have struggled against everyone on defense. No matter what stats Haskins puts up, if the Lions are to win this game they can’t him get comfortable.

That doesn’t mean the Lions have to blitz or that they will, because they blitz less than anyone else in the NFL. But the Lions should continue to mix up their coverage as we’ve seen over the last few weeks. They should also bring different pressure looks to try and throw the rookie off.

Stopping the run should also help, but the Lions will be missing a key run stopper in Trey Flowers and Tracy Walker is also out. Still, the Lions have been much better against the run the last couple of games.

Keep the offense going: Game three of the Jeff Driskel experience is upon us, and so far, things have been pretty good. Looking at last Sunday, Driskel and the offense played great. They scored 27 points, had no turnovers and put themselves in a position to tie the game late.

Driskel ran the ball effectively and the Lions offense even had a boost from new RB Bo Scarbrough.

The Lions offense has been just fine with Jeff Driskel and that should continue against the Redskins.

Don’t help Washington out: This is the second time in recent weeks the Lions are playing a team worse than they are. It’s a game the Lions should win, but they need to avoid a few key mistakes to do that.

First, don’t commit penalties. On offense, penalties kill drives and on defense they make the opponents’ lives easier and can extend drives.

Second, don’t turn the ball over. You can’t give a team you’re better than more chances to stick around or beat you.

Lastly, don’t play down to the other teams’ level. Keep your assignments, play smart football and go do the good things you’ve been doing. That should be enough to win the Lions this game.