The Detroit Lions haven't won a game since before Christmas 2007. With another loss, they'd be No. 2 on the list of longest losing streaks in pro football history. They've got the Skins right where they want 'em, don't they?
It's with that as background, not to mention all the swirling talk about Jim Zorn's play calling and the impotent offense, that the Skins travel to Detroit in what's looking like a bigger challenge than it should be.
The pigskin prognosticators certainly think that Detroit has a shot. The Washington Post's (does he still write for the dead-tree edition?) Mike Wilbon picks the Lions. (For the record, he picks his hometown Cardinals, too.)
Cris Collinsworth, Peter King... name an insufferable TV blowhard, and they're going with Detroit in an upset.
They're all doing it so on the off chance that the ZornStar doesn't plow through that dogmeat team, they'll be able to trumpet and crow the genius of their picks.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, these guys are forgetting one thing: Detroit would stink underwater. Their pass defense, especially, is terrible, as it has been for a few years. The team completely remade its secondary, bringing in new players and a completely new system. If Zorn's ever going to air it out, this is the week to do it.
Drew Brees passed for six touchdowns in the first game against 'em. If Campbell has the same efficiency he had in the game against the Rams, the Skins should be good for, like, two TDs. Celebrate, everybody!
But where the Skins really have a chance to put a boot on Detroit's throat is on the defensive side of the ball. Albert Haynesworth has been a behemoth in the middle, and other than an odd play here or there, neither the Giants nor Rams were able to run the ball effectively. The Skins are showing that to beat them, you're going to have to pass on 'em.
And who's doing the throwing? Rookie QB Matt Stafford has been passable, but hardly one of those first-year standouts ala Joe Flacco last year.
It's up to the Skins to force the ball into his hands, and do whatever they can to keep Calvin Johnson covered. The Redskins secondary hasn't been great, and this could certainly be a challenge for them, but if they can't stop a first-year QB from shredding the defense, especially on 3rd and long, the whole lot of 'em should just go home for the season.
The Lions are the trendy pick, mostly owing to the Redskins' odor of dysfunction. But don't forget; the Skins marched the ball up and down the field last week -- just some ill-timed drops and some crappy play-calling kept them out of the endzone.
If Sellers, Zorn and the others learned their lesson, Wilbon, Collinsworth and King will be enjoying the taste of crow come Monday.