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Lions vs. Commanders preview: T.J. Hockenson, D’Andre Swift will ‘feast on’ linebackers

Our friends over at Hogs Haven preview Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and Washington Commanders and believe 3 Lions should dominate.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Washington Commanders Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions had a fun, but also disappointing season opener against an NFC East team in Week 1. On Sunday they’ll face another in the Washington Commanders. It’s still weird to type that name and say it out loud, but it’s a thing. I, myself, preferred Football Team, but the what are you going to do?

The Washington Commanders are coming off a Week 1 win over the Jaguars, and while Lions fans feel like this is sure win, this team is nothing to look past. The Commanders have some weapons and they have a quarterback that, whether you want to believe it or not, can do some damage every now and again.

We wanted to get more information about this Commanders team, so we reached out to our pals over at Hogs Haven to get the scoop. Here’s what HH writer Kyle Smith had to say:

The Commanders are coming off a win in Week 1. What stood out the most in that win?

“Two things really stood out: 1) Washington’s abundance of offensive weapons. From Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, and Terry McLaurin in the receiving corps, to an expanded role for Antonio Gibson, and the deepest tight end room in years, the Commanders, and by extension, Carson Wentz, have the best arsenal of offensive weapons they’ve had in a long time. And, their best pure running back, Brian Robinson, is missing the first month of the season recovering from gunshot wounds.

“The other thing that stood out was ‘Cardiac’ Carson Wentz. From starting the Jaguars game with two touchdown drives, to melting down with two ill-advised interceptions in the middle of the game, and then throwing two more beautiful TDs to secure the victory, Wentz sent Commanders’ fans through the whole range of emotions in Week 1—just like Eagles’ and Colts’ fans said he would. All that having been said, it’s been a very long time since a Washington QB put on a similar display and, at least for a week, fans seem content to have a QB with Wentz’s potential upside commanding the team.”

What is this teams biggest strength?

“The Commanders’ biggest strength at this point is one of the units I mentioned above: Its wide receiver room. With McLaurin, Samuel, and Dotson all healthy, they’re going to create some nasty match-up problems for opposing secondaries. Samuel, in particular, was used as a weapon by offensive coordinator Scott Turner both in the running game and as a WR. Interestingly, Gibson was flexed out far more in the passing game in Week 1 than I ever remember him being used that way before, though, he played primarily as a WR in college. With Dotson demonstrating his ability in Week 1, he should draw more attention from Terry McLaurin, the team’s top WR, allowing Terry to operate with the least amount of defensive focus in his four years in the league.”

What is their weakness?

“For the past couple of years, the defense has been thought of as this team’s strength. The reality, though, is that while there’s been massive draft investment in the defense over the past half decade, its actual performance has been overhyped. I’m expecting them to be a bottom third unit this year.

“The soft underbelly of this defense, however, is its linebacking corps. I expect D’Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson, and Amon-Ra St. Brown to feast on Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis over the middle of the field for much of the game, unfortunately. Our best hope is that Washington’s pass rush can throw Jared Goff off his game, but with the Lions’ stalwart offensive line, that will be no easy task.”

Who is the under the radar player that the Lions should be concerned about?

“Last week, I offered Jahan Dotson and Jamin Davis. Dotson broke out so completely in Week 1 that I doubt he’s under anyone’s radar any longer. He’s a sneaky possibility for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and already one of Wentz’s favorite targets. I’ll offer two more players this week. On offense, rookie tight end Cole Turner returns to the line-up off a hamstring injury. I don’t expect him to be as explosive or exciting as Dotson, but I can see him helping Wentz to move the chains and serving as a big red-zone target.

“On the defense, safety Darrick Forrest got the shot to play heavily with Kam Curl sidelined with a thumb injury. Darrick rose to the occasion and played the position with such enthusiasm and abandon that he’s been affectionately nicknamed “Forrest Thump” by some in the fanbase. It will be interesting to see how much he plays, and where he plays, if Curl is back this week.”

5. Who’s winning this thing?

“Commanders win 31-21.”

Check out the odds for this week’s game courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

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