[caption id="attachment_1713" align="aligncenter" width="336" caption="The Redskisn could go either way"][/caption]
The Washington Redskins are tight. They have been taking hits from the fans, from the local media, from the Detroit media and from the national media. Much of their week since the final gun on Sunday has been spent defending their performance in a win.
Jim Zorn got into a verbal jousting match with the iconic Sonny Jurgensen.
On Tuesday, Robert Henson's outburst on Twitter drew a lengthy rebuke by Mike Greenberg that, as I type this on Friday morning, is being replayed on ESPN yet again.
Chris Cooley pushed back against the booing in the locker room after the game and later in the week in his blog he said that all of the criticism is barnyard excrement.
Mike Sellers went off on the media while Clinton Portis said that Dan Snyder might be on the verge of losing the fans.
Other than that, it was a normal week after a win at Redskins Park.
The good news for the players is that it almost is over. There is an open locker room session with the media after practice today and then, for about 48 hours, the players and coaches will be insulated from the fans and media. Those 48 hours will be critical.
The team can go in one of two directions during that time. They can either use everything that happened during the week as a motivational spur. Or they can wallow in it and get consumed by self-doubt.
If the former happens, they will put away the Lions early and coast to an easy win. If they come out and play tentatively the Lions will hang around all game long and win on a late Jason Hanson field goal.
There isn't much history to go on to determine which way the Zorn-coached Redskins will go. They faced such a firestorm from all angles when they suffered a nine-point loss at the home of the Super Bowl champion Giants in Zorn's very first game as head coach. For no rational reason members of the media were talking about the team getting the top pick in the draft. The message boards exploded with talk of Zorn being run out of town soon, to be followed by Jason Campbell.
They bounced back from all of that to beat four pretty good teams in succession. The Skins rallied to beat the Saints, held off the Cardinals and then went on the road to beat Dallas and the Eagles. One would have to say that they bounced back from that set of adversity.
Another low point came when Zorn declared that he was "the worst coach in America" after the Redskins lost to the lowly Bengals in December. The Redskins came out the following week and beat the Eagles in a game that Philadelphia desperately needed to control its destiny in the playoff race.
In those two instances the team rebounded well. But that's not enough history to say with any degree of certainty that they will bounce back this week. It does however, weight the coin toss. The chances are slightly better that the Redskins will circle the wagons than they are that they won't.
And if they do channel all of the tension from the week in a positive way, this game won't be close. Campbell will exploit the Lions' historically-bad pass defense. That will open up room for Portis' first 100-yard performance since last Nov. 23 at Seattle. The defense will have Matt Stafford's head spinning and will create multiple turnovers.
And if the Redskins come out and play tight they will lose. While recognizing that there is a distinct possibility that that will happen, the call here is to go with the admittedly-scant evidence that says that they will come out firing.
Redskins 31, Lions 10