Free Press sports writers predict the Detroit Lions’ vs. Washington Commanders game Sunday at Ford Field (1 p.m., Fox):
The Lions are dealing with a lot of injuries to key players, and their participation could sway the outcome of this game. If D’Andre Swift cannot go, that’s a huge loss for an offense that relies heavily on his game-breaking ability. Up front, Frank Ragnow’s absence will impact both the run game and pass protection, and could force the Lions to resort to more of a short passing attack. Washington is well-built on its defensive line, but the Commanders are mediocre at best and have hitched their wagon to an erratic quarterback who tends to give his opponents the chance at one or two takeaways a game.
This is an important game for the Lions. They cannot afford to start 0-2, with two home losses, and have fans jump off their bandwagon early in the season again. I foresee a big game for Amon-Ra St. Brown, and if the Lions win the turnover battle they should even their record heading into next week’s NFC North showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. The pick: Lions 28, Commanders 24.
All right, Lions. Those pure, chaste souls at the Las Vegas sportsbooks have placed their faith in you as favorites this week for the first time in nearly two years. Don’t disappoint them with conservative play-calling, off-target passes, poor timeout decisions, a leaky secondary and a failure to sack Carson Wentz. And let’s be real. This is your best shot at ensuring you don’t start 0-5 … or 0-9. The pick: Lions 27, Commanders 25.
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The Lions are favored to win this game. They should win this game. But Lions coach Dan Campbell has yet to prove he can win close games. He’s 2-6-1 in games decided by seven points or less. My head says the Lions will win by simply outscoring the Commanders. But my gut says they are gonna lose. Just because this is so new — they haven’t been favored in forever. So I’ll go with my head. Only because the game is at home and Ford Field should offer the Lions a tremendous boost on Sunday. The pick: Lions 35, Commanders 27.
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The Lions get off to a fast start again only this time they don’t disappear for two quarters. Jared Goff and the offense lead the way to a critical early season win. The pick: Lions 31, Commanders 24.
SHAWN:Just win Sunday and the Lions’ schedule seems a little easier