5 Detroit Lions Who Need to Step Up vs. Washington Redskins

Marcus Hill@@MrMarcDiddyCorrespondent IISeptember 19, 2013

5 Detroit Lions Who Need to Step Up vs. Washington Redskins

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    It’ll be a long season if the boys in Motor City lose Sunday.

    The Lions face a struggling Washington Redskins squad who are trying to find an identity on offense. Robert Griffin III is trying to find his former self after last season’s lingering knee injury.

    Detroit is averaging nearly 400 yards per game, while the Redskins have given up more than 500 yards per game in its first two contests. This should be a game in which the Lions thrive on offense and (perhaps) get away with the foolish mistakes.

    Nonetheless, Detroit needs to have a great game on both sides of the ball to keep RG3 and the Redskins from earning their first win.  

    These five players need to have a big impact for the Lions to earn a victory Sunday at FedExField.

Matthew Stafford

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    I'm not saying that Detroit’s quarterback hasn’t played well this season, but this is a game in which Matthew Stafford needs to flourish.

    Against a team giving up 35 points per game, there is no reason Stafford cannot have a big game through the air.

    Stafford has had decent protection from his line, which should give him plenty of time to establish the team's bread and butter—passing. Yes, he lost a fumble against the Cardinals, but Stafford has been only been sacked once and has thrown just one pick.

    The young Lions QB has a quarterback rating of 102.0 in two games this season. He should see that number increase Sunday. Regardless of the personnel that take the field with him, Stafford needs to be on point if Detroit is to leave Washington victorious.

Joique Bell

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    According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, Reggie Bush is 50-50 for the Redskins game.

    Joique Bell needs to be ready regardless, and he should be salivating at the prospects of playing against the ‘Skins putrid defense. Washington has given up 201 rushing yards per game, and there is no reason why Bell cannot gain 100 yards on Sunday.

    Whether or not Bush can play, Bell will surely have an increased number of carries. To help the Lions maintain balance on offense, Bell needs to do his part.

David Akers

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    Should have known his name would pop up somewhere.

    David Akers needs to use this game to gain some momentum for the remainder of the season.

    Still, his number shouldn’t be called often (aside from extra points), if everything goes according to plan. But since “according to plan” rarely happens in the NFL, Akers needs to put his boot to work and score three points when Detroit needs them.

    Akers has nailed all seven of his extra points thus far, but missed two kicks—one blocked, the other a 52-yard attempt—in Detroit's Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

    Against a team fighting to earn its first victory, no points can be left on the table in this contest. Every point Akers can muster will be needed for the Lions.

Ndamukong Suh

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    So far this season, there hasn’t been too much of a roar from this Lion.

    Unless you count that $100,000 fine for his chop block on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan—then Ndamukong Suh's left his mark on the field this season.

    Though the season is just two games old, Suh has not done much for the Lions on defense. But with RG3 hobbling around looking for targets, Suh should be able to get to the QB, or at the very least, pressure Griffin and force him to run or make him throw early.

    Suh needs to become more prominent in Detroit’s defensive scheme by causing (legal) havoc against Washington.

Nick Fairley

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    Nick Fairley played decent in the season opener against the Vikings, registering 1.5 sacks and five tackles, while putting plenty of pressure on opposing QBs. He was out against the Cardinals with a shoulder injury.

    If he can come back Sunday, then he needs to continue that trend against Washington.

    Much of the Redskins offense has come late when the game was already decided. Griffin and the Redskins will look to turn that around at home Sunday.

    Detroit can’t let that happen. 

    The Lions need to structure its game plan around putting pressure on RG3. The young defensive tackle needs to help fire up the D-line to keep Griffin from having a breakout game.