Lions vs. Redskins: Three keys to the game

The Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins will do battle at Ford Field on Sunday, and when the game plays out, there will be no shortage of keys to victory.

What are the three biggest elements which will make the difference in a Detroit win? Here's this week's roadmap.

The Detroit Lions put their two game win streak to the test against the Washington Redskins. Make sure you're in the loop --take five seconds to sign up for our FREE Lions newsletter now! 

1. Don't let Kirk Cousins get too excited. Cousins is a player who thrives off emotion, as folks in Michigan should know from his college days. If he gets going and makes some big plays, he can pick up momentum and become hard to stop. The Lions must rattle him with pressure in his first NFL start in his former state. Cousins might already be pressing knowing this is his first start back in Michigan, so it's up to Detroit to keep him in check emotionally.

2. Cover better in the secondary. For two straight weeks, the Lions have been an embarrassment in the second level. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams found it very easy to operate their passing offense, and the only thing that saved Case Keenum's career day from being the story was a late rally. This week, the Lions have to find a better way of covering a speedy, talented cast of wideouts and preventing them from taking things over at times. It will be the primary goal of the game defensively.

3. Create more big defensive plays. Why have the Lions won the last two weeks? Their periodic offensive outbursts have certainly helped, but it's largely been because of the defense's ability to rise up and create a turnover (see, Darius Slay's furious finish against the Eagles and Rafael Bush's late interception against the Rams). Detroit has also done things like stiffen near the goal line and get key third down stops. Everyone knows the Detroit offense can execute, but if their defense gets it going from a big play standpoint, they will be all the more dangerous.

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