Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions: Game Day Open Thread


The Oakland Raiders roll into the Motor City for a rare date with the Detroit Lions. And sitting at 4-5, the stakes are incredibly high for the Raiders.

More from Derek Carr

On paper, it looks like a game that the Raiders should win. The Lions, currently sitting at 2-7 and embroiled in absolute organizational turmoil, don’t have much left to play for this season. But games are not played on paper and the Lions are a very dangerous team – as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers found out last week.

Riding a two game losing streak and watching their playoff hopes beginning to unravel, the Raiders must avoid the trap and find a way to beat the Lions. They must find a way to play like the team that dominated the Chargers and Jets and avoid playing like the team that got ravaged by the Steelers and Vikings.

If they hope to have a shot at the postseason, this game is a must have.

Of course, the biggest storyline of the week is that they are going to have to find a way to rally and win without linebacker Aldon Smith who had a one year suspension dropped on him by the league. Smith, along with Khalil Mack formed the backbone of that Raider run defense – Pro Football Focus had both ranked inside the top ten run stuffing linebackers this season.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Having gotten absolutely gashed in consecutive weeks – DeAngelo Williams ran all over the Raiders for 170 yards and Adrian Peterson humiliated Oakland with 203 yards on the ground – and seeing their ranking as the league’s number two run defense slip all the way down to number twenty-two, Oakland must now find a way to get the job done without one of its sturdiest pieces.

The catch a break of sorts given that Detroit’s running offense is absolutely anemic – averaging just under 67 yards a game which puts them dead last in the league. Detroit’s leading rusher, Ameer Abdullah has just 240 yards on 68 attempts this season.

The Raiders’ run defense can get healthy again, feasting on Detroit’s paltry rushing attack – but they can’t afford to sleep on it and need to step up and make plays.

Of even bigger concern is how Oakland’s secondary will fare against Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, and Theo Riddick. It’s concerning given just how porous Oakland’s secondary has been this season. Having Nate Allen back from injury and Travis Carrie moving back to his natural position is going to help solidify the defensive backfield, but the Lions are a team capable of exploding and putting up some numbers.

It will be critical that Oakland comes to play. The pass rush needs to step up and put some real heat on Matthew Stafford. They can’t afford for him to get comfortable and get in a rhythm. Mario Edwards, Mack, Dan Williams, Justin Ellis, and company are going to need to find ways to shed blocks and get in Stafford’s face early and often.

A strong pass rush will only help the secondary stave off Detroit’s aerial attack.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders will need to shake off whatever it was that bogged them down last week. For the first time in a while, the offense looked out of synch and was limited to just 14 points. Derek Carr had his third consecutive 300 plus yard, multiple touchdown passing game, but made a couple of poor decisions and throws and as a result, got picked off twice – the second being a killer as it was in the endzone and prevented the Raiders from tying the game.

Latavius Murray needs to get back on track as well after recording just 48 yards on 12 carries against the Vikings. On the day, the Raiders had just 84 total rushing yards and were held scoreless in the second half.

It was a day that they just couldn’t generate anything offensively – and some of that was no doubt, attributable to a very bland, very vanilla, very conservative offensive game plan. The Raiders have weapons all over the field and OC Bill Musgrave absolutely needs to find a way to utilize them to their devastating maximum potential.

In Detroit, Musgrave is getting the league’s twenty-fifth ranked defense. They’re not great against the run or the pass, so the potential is there for him to really exploit the Lions and let the Raiders vent two week’s worth of frustration.

Next: Into the Belly of the Beast: Q&A With Detroit Jock City

On paper, this looks like it’s going to be a shootout. But the Raiders should have a couple more bullets in their gun than the Lions. On paper, this is a game the Raiders “should” win. But as was stated earlier, the games aren’t played on paper and Oakland must avoid the trap presented by the 2-7 Lions and find a way to win.

What do you think? How will this game play out? What are the biggest storylines? What do you expect to see? This is your place to talk about the game and discuss all things Raiders. So step on up and let’s hear what you think.

Time to sound off, Raider Nation!