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2022 opponent breakdown | Detroit Lions

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Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Commanders.com continues its journey through Washington's 2022 schedule with a closer look at Week 2 opponent Detroit Lions.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Washington leads the regular season series, 28-15.
  • Washington has faced Detroit three times in the postseason and won all three games.
  • Washington has a .651 winning percentage against Detroit.
  • From 1968-1997, Washington boasted an 18-0 win streak against Detroit.
  • Washington's most recent match up against Detroit came in 2020 -- a contest that finished in a 30-27 Lions win thanks to a 59-yard walk-off field goal.
  • Memorable moment: October 22, 1995: After a scintillating back-and-forth game that forced overtime, Darrell Green took all the pressure put on Washington's defense in stride, intercepting the Lions QB and scoring to give the home team a walk-off victory at RFK in front of 50,000 fans.

COACHES

  • Head coach Dan Campbell (2nd in Detroit)
  • Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn (2nd)
  • Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp (2nd)

The Washington Commanders busted out the new uniforms for Media Day earlier this month. Check out the top shots of the players wearing the new Burgundy & Gold. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

2021 REVIEW

Last season, for the first time since 2008, a man not named Matthew Stafford was tapped as the Detroit Lions' QB1. The team had limped out of the 2020 season with a 5-11 record, and those woes continued into a Stafford-less 2022. Dan Campbell's squad got off to an 0-8 start and ultimately finished the season with a 3-13-1 record.

There were some bright spots that Washington might want to monitor as it preps for the trip to Michigan in September. For one, the season ended on a bit of an upswing for the Lions. They upset two playoff-bound teams in Week 15 and the top-seeded Green Bay Packers in Week 18. They showed a tremendous amount of fight and what it team was capable of.

Not to mention, the offense racked up some stats that they can feel encouraged about. It finished 19th in total rushing yards with 1,886 and 110.9 yards per game -- the highest since the 2013 season. It's an impressive improvement considering the offense was ranked 30th in 2020, 21st in 2019 and 23rd in 2018 in the category. Also on offensive front, 2021 fourth-round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown had one of the best rookie seasons for the Lions in recent memory, setting the franchise record for receiving yards for a rookie.

ADDITIONS

FREE AGENCY

  • WR DJ Chark Jr.
  • LB Charles Harris
  • WR Kalif Raymond
  • S Tracey Walker
  • WR Josh Reynolds
  • LB Alex Anzalone
  • QB Tim Boyle
  • C Evan Brown
  • S Jalen Elliot
  • LB Shaun Dion Hamilton
  • S C.J. Moore
  • TE Garrett Griffin
  • CB Mike Hughes
  • QB David Blough
  • LB Jarrad Davis

DRAFT

  • DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan (No. 2 overall)
  • WR Jameson Williams, Alabama (No. 12 overall)
  • DE Josh Paschal, Kentucky (No. 46 overall)
  • DB Kerby Joseph, Illinois (No. 97 overall)
  • TE James Mitchell, Virginia Tech (No. 177 overall)
  • LB Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State (No. 188 overall)
  • LB James Houston, Jackson State (No. 217 overall)
  • DB Chase Lucas, Arizona State (No. 237 overall)

KEY STORYLINES

  • No. 2 overall pick ready to rep his home at home: Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, the Lions knew they needed to shore up their defense and selected Aidan Hutchinson with their No. 2 overall pick was almost a no-brainer. A powerful, explosive edge-rusher who amassed the most sacks in a season in Michigan history (14) in 2021, Hutchinson had one of the best seasons ever by a Wolverines defender and finished second in Heisman voting. Add his talent in with the fact that he's a Michigan native, and it's easy to see why he was such an appealing pick for the Lions. Washington's O-line will need to bring its A-game in order to stop Hutchinson, who will likely have some extra motivation when he steps on the field for his first pro game in front of a home crowd.
  • Will Jameson Williams be ready?: With the No. 7 overall pick in the Draft, the Lions added a potent offensive weapon to its arsenal by selecting Alabama's Jameson Williams. Washington's defense needs to be wary of the wide receiver, who is lightning quick, a devastating route runner and has a large catch radius. In a memorable 2021 season, he hauled in 79 passes, ranking fifth in the FBS with 1,572 receiving yards and tying for third with 15 receiving touchdowns in 15 starts. He did suffer an ACL tear in the national title game against Georgia, and it remains to be seen how, if at all, that'll affect his game.
  • A battle between two gritty teams: Wins and losses on stat sheets rarely tell the whole story. Six of Detroit's 13 losses in 2021 were by eight points or fewer. Meanwhile, five of Washington's seven wins were by eight points or fewer. Fans will remember Rivera's fiery locker room speeches and comments praising his guys for their fight despite a host of injury and COVID-19 related challenges. The Lions also showed moments of inspiring resilience and fight last season for Campbell. With that mentality, and the fact that both teams were involved in so many close contests, it's likely that the Week 2 battle could come down to the wire.

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