Detroit News predictions: Lions vs. Washington

Detroit News

The Detroit News
 |  The Detroit News

Justin Rogers, Rod Beard, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News predict the outcome of Sunday’s Washington at Lions game (1 p.m., Fox, WJR 760-AM).

►Justin Rogers: What’s more likely, that Alex Smith, in his first start in nearly two years, finds success against one of the NFL’s worst defenses, or that the Lions manage an offensive breakthrough, without Kenny Golladay, against a quality defense built around a talented, pass-rushing front? Yeah, we’ve somehow reached a point where Washington’s future looks brighter. Washington 24, Lions 20

►Rod Beard: There really aren’t many must-win games, but this is close to one for the Lions if they’re going to salvage anything from this season. Mentally, losing a third straight, to a team that’s struggling, would be hard to recover from. Washington’s offense has been abysmal, with a quarterback carousel, so the Lions’ defense has a chance to dominate. With no Kenny Golladay, the Lions will need to find other producers on offense and can look to their running game. Lions 20, Washington 10

►John Niyo: Last year’s game ended with Dwayne Haskins taking a selfie on the sideline. This year’s matchup will feature Alex Smith’s comeback story. But if it’s not Matthew Stafford celebrating a win at Ford Field when it’s over — something he hasn’t done in 13 months — what are the Lions even doing here? Lions 27, Washington 20

►Bob Wojnowski: Washington may be 2-6, but if you think this is a softie for the Lions, you haven’t watched much. QB Alex Smith makes his first start in almost two years after a horrific leg injury, the type of feel-good story that can lift a team. Washington also has an excellent defensive front, and is first in the league in passing defense. Obviously, the Lions would prefer to run the ball, and it’s time to ratchet up the workload for D’Andre Swift. Washington’s offense ranks near the bottom in every statistical category, including sacks allowed. Dare I say, is this the game the Lions finally get to the quarterback? Lions 23, Washington 18  

More: Lions have complete respect for Alex Smith’s ‘tremendous’ comeback

More: Lions running back Kerryon Johnson isn’t fazed by change in role

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