Will there be another barn burner at Ford Field this week against the Commanders?
Carson Wentz and the Washington Commanders invade Detroit to battle the Lions this Sunday. The Lions are coming off a high-scoring, close loss against a good Eagles team, while the Commanders are looking to build on their win over the rebuilding Jaguars. Examining the rosters of both teams, this could be another exciting shootout to keep fans of both teams, and fantasy football managers, on the edge of their seats. I’ll call my shot on three bold predictions ahead of the week two matchup against the Commanders.
Commanders Quarterback Carson Wentz Gets Sacked At Least Three Times
The Lions only managed one sack against the Eagles, a safety blitz by Tracy Walker before he was ejected for dual personal foul penalties. Along with Jalen Hurts elusiveness being a factor, the Eagles have especially long and strong offensive tackles, which handled the Lion’s top pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson and Charles Harris. Washington has a more middle of the road ranked unit compared to Philly’s top rated line. Look for Hutchinson to record his first career NFL sack (and maybe two) against a far less mobile Wentz. Three team sacks is an obtainable goal that will show the pass rush is improving.
Malcolm Rodriguez Continues To Improve And Leads The Team In Tackles Against The Commanders
Rodrigo was impressive in his NFL regular season debut, earning the top PFF (Pro Football Focus) grade on the entire team and the 12th best among all NFL linebackers in week one. He notched six tackles last week, but I think he’s earned himself more playing time and could double that against Washington. Anzalone is still the top linebacker on this team, at least in the eyes of the coaches, but Malcolm has the potential to wreck a game plan if left unaccounted for.
Washington will likely try to establish the run with Antonio Gibson and throw screens to former Lion J.D. McKissic. I’m looking forward to Malcolm Rodriguez attacking ball carriers all afternoon. If he plays well once again, it will force Aaron Glenn and Dan Campbell’s hands to give him, even more, snaps and responsibility. He’s already endeared himself to most of the fans, he just has to keep it going.
T.J. Hockenson Has At Least 75 Yards Receiving And A Touchdown Against The Commanders
The hype around Hockenson has been quiet as of late and his stat line against the Eagles mostly affirms why it’s stayed that way. Hockenson was targeted seven times but only managed four receptions for 38 yards. Meanwhile, Amon-Ra St. Brown picked up where he left off last season with eight receptions, 64 yards, and a touchdown.
Amon-Ra St. Brown now has a touchdown in 5 straight games😎 pic.twitter.com/3oiyjRFhmR — PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 11, 2022
Offseason free agent acquisition DJ Chark was also targeted eight times and scored a touchdown late from an impressive throw from Jared Goff. These outside threats, along with the constant potential dump-off to DeAndre Swift out of the backfield, could leave TJ Hockenson wide open in the middle of the field or the Red Zone. Hockenson will be seeking a new contract this offseason. If he wants to be paid similarly to Darren Waller, who just received a new three-year contract worth $51 million with $22 million guaranteed, he will have to step up his production.
Hockenson doesn’t have to be the top receiving threat on this team anymore, and that’s a good thing for the Lions, but he does have to be a dependable option for Goff to throw to when he needs to. I think this week against Washington is a good time to remind the league of his outstanding potential that compelled former General Manager Bob Quinn to draft him eighth overall in 2019.
Early Score Prediction: Lions 32, Commanders 27