Free Press sportswriters predict the Detroit Lions vs. Washington Commanders Sunday at Ford Field (1 p.m., Fox):
The Lions are dealing with a lot of injuries to key players, and their involvement could have an impact on this game. If D’Andre Swift can’t go, that’s a big loss for an offense that relies heavily on his ability to excel. Up front, the absence of Frank Ragnow will affect the run game and pass defense, and could force the Lions to resort more to a short-range attack. Washington is well-built on its defensive line, but the Chiefs are mediocre at best and their wagon has been hit by an erratic quarterback who tends to give opponents a chance at a pick-and-roll game or two.
This is an important game for the Lions. They can’t afford to start 0-2, with two home losses, and their fans have to jump off the bandwagon early in the season again. I predict that Amon-Ra St. will have a big game. Brown, and if the Lions win the turnover battle they should even their record going into next week’s NFC North championship game with the Minnesota Vikings. Pick: Lions 28, Commanders 24.
All right, Leo. Those pure souls at the Las Vegas sports books put their faith in you as favorites this week for the first time in nearly two years. Don’t let them down with conservative play, off-target passes, bad timeout decisions, a leaky secondary and failure to sack Carson Wentz. And let’s be real. This is your best bet to ensure you don’t start 0-5 … or 0-9. Pick: Lions 27, Commanders 25.
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The Lions are favored to win this game. They should win this game. But Lions coach Dan Campbell has yet to prove he can win close games. He is 2-6-1 in games decided by seven points or less. My head says that the Lions will win by defeating the Chiefs. But my gut says they will lose. Just because this is so new – they haven’t been favored in forever. So I’ll go with mine. Except that the game is at home and Ford Field should offer a great boost for the Lions on Sunday. Pick: Lions 35, Commanders 27.
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The Lions start quickly again but this time they don’t go away for two quarters. Jared Goff and the offense lead the way to a crucial win for the season. Odds: Lions 31, Commanders 24.
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This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions vs. Washington: How big are the injuries?