(WJLA) - It's a tough thing to rationalize when referring to a game in Week 3 as a "must-win," but for the Washington Redskins, a victory Sunday would go a long way.
It would go a long way toward getting a disastrous start to the season back on the rails, toward reestablishing a star quarterback as a legitimate passing and running threat and soothing a fan base weary of expectations not met.
Grabbing a win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at FedEx Field, though, is easier said than done, as they come in with one of the more dynamic offenses in the NFC this early season. Here are seven things to keep an eye on during Sunday's game.
1) Will RG3 take off? The concern over Washington's 0-2 start has been exacerbated by Robert Griffin III's slower-than-expected return to the field. The NFC's Offensive Rookie of the Year has only rushed for 25 yards on nine attempts in the team's first two games. While his passing touch has been adequate - he's averaged 311 yards per game thus far - the team likely needs a spark from his legs.
2) Can the Redskins stop Reggie Bush? The former USC standout whose NFL career hasn't panned out exactly as expected has seen an early resurgence and is providing the Lions with another offensive threat. Washington is dead last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed so far this season, and stopping the run will be a key to victory.
3) Can ANYONE stop Calvin Johnson? They call him Megatron for a reason. He already has 153 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns this season. What more, he's got 5 inches on the tallest member of Washington's secondary. That's a matchup problem the team will have to address.
4) Is Alfred Morris ready to take off? As a rookie, all Morris did was break the franchise record for most rushing yards in a single season. As a sophomore, he's averaging 6.1 yards per carry. In the absence of Griffin's running prowess, Morris will likely be leaned on to accrue yards on the ground against a team that has given up an average of 94 rushing yards per game.
5) Can Detroit break its curse? Incredibly, the Lions have not won a single game in Washington since 1935. A loss to the Redskins on Sunday would be their 22nd straight defeat on the road against Washington.
6) A boy named Suh. The exploits of Ndamakong Suh are well chronicled across the NFL. He has already been fined once this season for delivering an illegal and brutal low block on the Minnesota Vikings' John Sullivan and has developed a reputation as one of the dirtier players in the league. That said, he's an enormously disruptive force on the defensive line and could wreak havoc on the Redskins' sputtering offense if given the chance.
7) Does an 0-3 start crush Washington? Yes, teams have come back from starting their season winless after two weeks. Some have even won the Super Bowl. 0-3 is another thing. The Redskins are already a game back of first place, and while that's not insurmountable in the long term, dropping to 0-3 means that Washington would likely have to win 9 of their final 13 games, if not more, to even touch the NFC playoff race.