Free NFL Picks: Washington at Detroit 10-31-2010

October 29, 2010


Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions

Sunday October 31st, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Detroit -3


The 1-4 Lions destroyed the Rams in their last home game. They will try to duplicate their last home performance when they take on the 4-3 Washington Redskins. The Lions are coming off a bye week, which may account for them being considered the favorites in this game. The Lions have struggled this season, though they have shown flashes of quality play on both sides of the ball this season. Let’s take a look at what they will have to do to keep Donovan McNabb and the Redskins in check.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Redskins have been miserable on defense, but it shouldn’t be a factor in this one because the Lions have been just as bad on offense. The Redskins brought in Albert Haynesworth to become dominant up front. They have a front seven that could easily be the most talented in the NFC. For whatever reason, they have not been able to slow teams down, especially when it comes to the passing game. They rank second to last in the league in pass defense, allowing 292.1 yards a game. DeAngelo Hall showed what he is capable of last week, grabbing four interceptions and running one back for a touchdown. He is limited in practice due to an injury, so the night may not be as difficult for Calvin Johnson.
  • The Lions have a lot to build around on defense, but they haven’t been able to put it together. They give up 23.3 points a game, which will result in a loss more often than not because their offense is not exactly elite. Ndamukong Suh is everything the Lions could have asked for. He already has 4.5 sacks in the first six games in the league. It is safe to say he is on track towards being an elite defensive lineman. He already is the league leader in sacks amongst defensive tackles. The Lions defense isn’t there quite yet, but with such a force up front, they need only a few more guys to make a splash in their division. The Lions have spent the majority of picks on the offensive side of the ball over the years, but they won’t be able to really burst onto the scene without acquiring more help on defense.
  • Calvin Johnson is a force on offense and hopefully Matthew Stafford recognizes what he has at wide receiver. Stafford has made being injured a habit, but he comes back this week. Shaun Hill took the reigns and exploited Calvin Johnson’s talents. Hill is the ultimate gamer, but he doesn’t have half the arm or accuracy Stafford has. Hill is the perfect back up quarterback. While the playbook gets cut in half due to his lack of arm strength, but he has the full support of his locker room and puts his team in a position to win. Stafford can learn a lot by watching how Shaun Hill approached Johnson during his reign as the starter. Hill put the ball up and allowed Johnson to make a play. Stafford was taken number one overall for his ability to bomb the ball down the field. Physically, there are few receivers who can compete with Johnson. The Stafford to Johnson connection has the potential to become lethal. Johnson has caught at least one touchdown in each of his last three games. Despite Stafford’s absence, the Lions still rank 7th in the league in passing. It is imperative that they don’t regress with the quarterback change.
  • Santana Moss is quietly having a Pro Bowl year. He is on pace to have 96 receptions and ranks 5th in yards with 548. Donovan McNabb isn’t having the best statistical year, but the wins are stacking up in large part due to his connection with Moss. Jason Campbell was not able to fully take advantage of having a wide receiver that had deep threat ability. The Redskins will undoubtedly look to launch the ball over the top of the Lions secondary to Moss. As long as McNabb has time to get the ball out of his hands and Suh isn’t clinging to him too often during the course of the game, plays will have enough time to completely develop.

Wrap Up:

I love how the Lions are coming along as a franchise. It appears as though they are actually getting somewhere and bringing in talent that is making a difference, which is more than I can say for the Lions under the Matt Millen regime. That being said, the Redskins look like they are playoff bound this year. If they can knock off the Lions, they will move to 5-3. The Redskins are in a three way battle with the Giants and Eagles for first place in the NFC East. Every game is a must win game to come away with a division title. There is no way they aren’t going to come away with a victory in this one, even if it means going on the road.

Free NFL Pick: Washington +3

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