The Washington Commanders are seeking to begin a season 2-0 for the first time since 2011, when Mike Shanahan was leading a Rex Grossman-quarterbacked Washington team of two names ago to battle. So yeah, it has been a long time since Washington was 2-0.
In Week 2, the Commanders are slated to travel to Detroit, Michigan to face the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Against the Eagles in Week 1, the Lions fell at home, 38-35. Philadelphia led 38-21 heading into the fourth, before Detroit stormed back to cut the lead to 38-35. However, the Eagles would ultimately gain two first downs, as they melted the clock away.
Against a more talented opponent, the Lions had an admirable effort. Like the Jaguars, many fans will say “it is the Lions, should be a cakewalk win.” Not so fast. This will most likely be another game the Commanders are in a dogfight to win at the end.
The talent in Detroit is improving and the new spunk Dan Campbell gives the organization makes them an intriguing watch. Here are three keys to beating the knee-cap-biting Detroit Lions in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season.
Three keys to victory for Commanders against the Lions
3. Second-level defenders stepping up
The linebacker position, a perceived weakness heading into the season for the Commanders, did nothing to assuage those concerns on Sunday. Jamin Davis was a step behind in coverage, as he allowed 4 catches for 62 yards and was lucky to not allow more. Cole Holcomb never flashed in his first game as the MIKE for the Commanders and capped it off with a poor attempt at a tackle before James Robinson waltzed into the endzone.
The collection of weapons for the Jaguars at running back and tight end—James Robinson, Travis Etienne, and Evan Engram— are a tough opening week ask. It doesn’t get any easier, unfortunately, as the Lions have D’Andre Swift and TJ Hockenson whom Holcomb and Davis will be tasked with stopping.
Swift was electric for the Lions in Week 1, totaling 144 rushing yards, and adding value as a receiver too. TJ Hockenson (4 catches for 38 yards) was held largely in check but is a talented playmaker in his own right.
Davis and Holcomb were, in general, a net negative for the Commanders against the Jaguars. The Commanders’ coaching staff is asking a lot from them, as each totaled at least 65 snaps, signaling clear confidence the coaching staff has in the two players.
Against the Lions, they will need to take a step forward to prevent the Lions’ playmakers from being overwhelming to a gelling defense.