Redskins.com looks at two key matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Lions game at Ford Field.
"Redskins-Lions: Marquee Matchup" is presented by Papa John's.
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Redskins Offensive Line vs. DT Ndamukong Suh
The Redskins are ranked 21st in the NFL in rushing and 17th with 16 sacks allowed through seven games.
Last week vs. Chicago, Donovan McNabb was sacked twice but pressured several other times. In the face of a blitz from a cornerback, he threw a tipped pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
The offensive line remains the key for how well the Redskins' offense performs on game day. Ryan Torain is providing a push on the ground, but
Detroit's Ndamukong Suh, the second overall pick in last April's NFL Draft, has emerged as a dominant force on the Lions' defensive line.
Suh, 6-4 and 307 pounds, has good mobility for a big man and tries to use his body frame to overpower linemen.
Suh leads the defense with 4.5 sacks – including 1.5 in the Lions' last game two weeks ago against the New York Giants. Three weeks ago against St. Louis, he tipped a Sam Bradford pass at the line of scrimmage, pulled the ball in for an interception and then raced 20 yards the other way.
Suh is expected to match up against right guard Artis Hicks, although Casey Rabach should be in position to double-team him.
Redskins Secondary vs. WR Calvin Johnson
The Redskins' defensive backs are well-tested this season, having competed against the likes of Houston's Andre Johnson, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and Indianapolis's Reggie Wayne, among others.
Pass defense has been a concern most of the season – the Redskins are ranked 31st overall in the NFL in that category.
They have thrived off forcing turnovers. As a unit, they have eight interceptions – including five by DeAngelo Hall – and three forced fumbles.
For the most part, the Redskins have contained Calvin Johnson in matchups at Ford Field each of the last two years. He caught four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown in 2008 and last year had five catches for 49 yards.
At 6-5 and 236 pounds, Johnson is – in Jim Haslett's terms – a "red zone nightmare." He can go up and over smaller cornerbacks for passes in the end zone.
Carlos Rogers was assigned to Johnson last year, but Rogers has spent more time covering the slot receiver this year. Look for a team effort against Johnson that includes Hall and veteran Phillip Buchanan, who played in Detroit last year.
The Redskins also hope that second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford is rusty after missing the Lions' last five games with a shoulder injury.