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The Cheat Sheet: Can the Lions take advantage of a hapless Washington team?

Detroit Lions vs. Washington game preview and prediction

New York Jets and the Washington Redskins Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

For the second week in the row, the Detroit Lions will take on a team from the NFC East. Last week, I mentioned how the Cowboys were actually far better than their record showed.

Well, Washington is the complete opposite. They are exactly what their record states:

A bad, one-win team.

Now, the Lions aren’t all that much better, but they’ve proven the ability to beat out the NFL’s weaker teams so far this season.

As Jeremy Reisman pointed out in his scouting report this week, if the Lions can’t stop this offense...they’re in trouble. On paper, this is a Washington team that the Lions should beat.

On Sunday, we’ll see if they can pull it off.

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Opponent snapshot

Washington is 1-9. They fired their head coach mid-season. They’ve rotated through several quarterbacks before landing on rookie Dwayne Haskins. Management destroyed their relationship with All Pro left tackle Trent Williams. And now their fans have been openly chanting for the owner Dan Snyder to sell the team.

In short, this team is the most dysfunctional team in the NFL.

Washington Redskins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Washington’s biggest threat

Terry McLaurin

McLaurin wasn’t a highly touted receiver coming out of Ohio State, but he’s proven to be one of the top receivers in last year’s class. He’s only 6-foot and 208 pounds, but he runs excellent routes and has by far been the brightest spot for Washington this season.

He hasn’t racked up a ton yards so far this season (566 yards), but he’s 12th in the NFL in yards per reception at 16.2.

My guess is the Lions will lock Darius Slay on McLaurin and force the other weapons to beat them.

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Washington’s weak link

Scoring points

When your team can’t score points, you’re going to have a hard time winning. And that’s been the case for Washington all year:

Week 1: vs Eagles, 27 points scored

Week 2: vs Cowboys, 21 points scored

Week 3: vs Bears, 15 points scored

Week 4: vs Giants, 3 points scored

Week 5: vs Patriots, 7 points scored

Week 6: vs Dolphins, 17 scored

Week 7: vs 49ers, 0 points scored

Week 8: vs Vikings, 9 points scored

Week 9: vs Bills, 9 points scored

Week 11: vs Jets, 17 points scored

They’ve only scored more than three touchdowns in one game this season. That was a Week 1 loss to the Eagles. They’ve only scored 35 points total in their last four games.

Even with Jeff Driskel making his third start, the Lions should be able to outpace Washington on the scoreboard.

Bottom line

Last week I tried to keep it simple and not overthink it. I’ll keep that trend going this week as the Lions wrap up their fourth win of the season on the road over Washington.

Prediction

Lions 27 Washington 13