Superficially the Lions and Redskins look like very similar teams. Both boast high-powered offenses that can score a lot of points, but both teams have had a propensity to be scored on a lot too. The overall performance of both teams in 2013 is similar, but they have taken a very different path to reach this point.
Meet the Washington Redskins
The are sound football moves and bad ones. Benching Robert Griffin III would be such a bad football move that there's not a metric to quantify it, yet you'll hear murmurs about Kirk Cousins if you listen to fans closely enough.
RGIII doesn't look like his old self and that's the problem. Coming off a torn ACL there has been an expectation that the second-year quarterback would bounce back and immediately find himself comfortable in the NFL. Instead it's been a rocky road, where he has looked uncomfortable in the pocket and unwilling to use his legs. Griffin III is on pace for just 72 rushing attempts where he ran 120 times his rookie year.
Washington's franchise quarterback doesn't look comfortable, but its defense looks comatose. The Redskins are allowing an average of 35.5 points per game and there's no one weakness to isolate. Players are struggling against the pass and the run and they need to find answers quickly to take pressure off the quarterback.
Meet the Detroit Lions
It's early in the season but right now the move to sign Reggie Bush looks to be one of the best free agent acquisitions in the NFL. The multi-talented Bush has been a revelation for an offense that too often leaned on the Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson link to be their only source of yards.
Through two games Bush has amassed 260 all-purpose yards and one touchdown, but here's the kicker -- it's unclear if he'll be full strength this week. Bush was injured last week in a loss to Arizona and his absence was felt as the Lions were unable to score an offensive touchdown while he was off the field.
Detroit's issue on defense is a lack of ability to stop big plays. The Lions are allowing 4.1 yards per carry, 7.4 yards per passing attempt -- which is killing the team's success in getting after the quarterback. The team's vaunted pass rush needs to be at full strength to take out the Redskins this week.
Local Takes: Washington Redskins
Tom Garrett from Hog's Haven says it's not time to panic, but it soon could be.
Sunday's game against the Lions may not be a "must-win," but it's something within hailing distance of that. The Redskins have only one more pre-bye game after Detroit, and that's a road trip to the surprisingly frisky Oakland Raiders. Despite Washington's post-break winning streak last year, going into the bye winless in 2013 seems like a disastrous path.
Local Takes: Detroit Lions
Brian Packey of Pride of Detroit sees Calvin Johnson as one of the safest bets in the league for fantasy football this week.
LAST WEEK: I hope you didn't do anything drastic, because he should've been an automatic start. Megatron finished as the No. 4 wide receiver with 2 touchdowns, 6 catches (8 targets) and 116 yards.
THIS WEEK: What usually happens when you put the NFL's best wide receiver up against the NFL's worst pass defense?
Follow the Fun
Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Hogs Haven and Pride of Detroit for more analysis and highlights from the game.
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Through 2 games, RGIII's completion percentage is 62.9%, the defense is giving up 73.1%. Skins are tied for 19th in turnover ratio at -1.— HogsHaven.com (@HogsHaven) September 17, 2013
Sounding more and more like Broyles will play this week.— Pride Of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) September 19, 2013
It's the knee brace. It's rust. It's the coaches. There are any number of problems keeping RGIII from being the same quarterback that won the Rookie of the Year award in 2012. Yet, look, here they are favored ever so slightly over the Lions. The biggest problem Washington has with RGIII at something less than himself is that it has exposed the rest of the team, the one that won five games before drafting the Baylor quarterback.
The pick: Detroit
The Washington Redskins aren't getting the full home field advantage as OddsShark lists them as one-point favorites this weekend.
The Washington Redskins head to the west coast to face the Oakland Raiders on 9/29.
Detroit return home as the Lions face the division-rival Chicago Bears on 9/29.