Rematch in Motor City: How much of a difference will a year make?

How much of a difference will Ryan Torain make for the Redskins this Sunday at Ford Field?

Redskins Gab columnist Keely Diven:

If there was ever a bad day to be a Redskin, September 27th 2009 was that day. Washington handed Detroit its first win in 20 games. With a loss to the worst team in football coming only three weeks into the season, the Redskins’ hopes and expectations for themselves deflated. Logically, football fans know any team can win or lose any game; however, to Washington fans watching that day, the Redskins seemed to be on a mission to prove that they, not the Lions, were the worst team in football.

The ’09 ‘Skins found themselves in a ditch with 13 games left to play and learned that criticism, like all other shit, flows downhill. Initial disbelief gave way to a slew of negativity that plagued the team for the rest of the season.  This week on his official blog Brian Orakpo wrote “The loss still stings today. Unfortunately, it caused our season to spin out of control after a cascade of criticism from the media and fans. We couldn’t block out the devastating loss and my teammates stopped believing in each other.”

The franchise devoted the offseason to airing out the stink of defeat that had permeated Redskins Park since that fateful day in Detroit. Notable casualties included head coach Jim Zorn, vice-president of football operations Vinny Cerrato, and starting quarterback Jason Campell. But 2010 is a new year with new leadership and a new squad. Snyder installed Bruce Allen at general manager, Mike Shanahan at head coach, and Donovan McNabb at quarterback.

The Redskins head into week 8 at Detroit with a 4-3 record (matching their 2009 win total) and every intention to keep winning. The 1-5 Lions once again find themselves with one of the league’s worst records. These circumstances should be encouraging, but as any wise Redskins fan understands, they terrify me. Why? Because Washington has a long and embarrassing history of playing to their opponent’s level (or just below) and overlooking weaker teams.

The result is that they play every game close. Just take a look at the four games this season that came down to the last play. The ‘Skins are good enough to beat good teams and bad enough to be beaten by bad teams.

Sounds crazy, but in my mind, the Lions’ losing record makes them more likely to win on Sunday. Especially because the team behind that record lost 3 games by less than a TD, demolished a Rams team that beat the Redskins, and could easily be 4-2 right now. With talented young players like Matt Stafford, Jahvid Best, and Ndamukong Suh, the 2010 Detroit Lions are fierce and desperate for another win. They’re better than the Lions we lost to a year ago, much better.

If the 2010 Redskins want to prove that they’re better than the 2009 Redskins, Detroit is the place to do it.

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