Detroit Lions vs Oakland Raiders : Sunday’s matchup with the Detroit Lions at RingCentral Coliseum might be the most pivotal game of the season for the Raiders. The Oakland Raiders are suddenly, once again, not such a sexy playoff pick. That’s what happens when a team losses two games in a row. Thus, Oakland’s roller-coaster season continues.
Oakland looked great in a Week 1 home win over the Denver Broncos. Then, the Raiders were completely outclassed by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings.
As noted in our “Path to the playoff” story, the next four Raider opponents are 7-22-1 combined, and the only team they face over the season’s final nine games that is currently .500 is the Kansas City Chiefs. Oakland could be poised to go on a big run toward playoff relevance, but the push will need start on Sunday. With that said, let’s take a look at the three key matchups that will decide the Raiders fate against Detroit.
Raiders Defensive Backs vs. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones
Will the defensive backs be able to handle, or at least slow down Golladay and Jones? Both of these teams have been subpar when defending the pass to say the least, but Trayvon Mullen’s performance against the Texans should give fans hope that the secondary can continue to improve as the unit coalesces.
The Raiders had Erik Harris, Karl Joseph, Daryl Worley and and Lamarcus Joyner on the field together on 91 percent of snaps against Houston, basically operating exclusively out of a Nickel package. Mullen and Nevin Lawson often traded off at corner, with the rookie second-rounder getting into a press-engage role frequently.
Golladay and Jones are both big-bodied, explosive receivers who could be No. 1 options on a number of NFL teams. Over seven games, they’ve combined for 64 catches, 917 yards and 9 touchdowns. That means, on average, the duo combines for just over 9 catches, 131 yards and 1.3 touchdowns. If they remain close to those season averages, the Raiders have a major shot to overpower them in what is likely to be a shootout.
They’re known as one of the most passionate, dedicated and, yes, sometimes vulgar fan bases in the NFL, but Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell saw another side of Raider Nation as quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers 16 years ago.
Bevell was on the field at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Dec. 22, 2003, when Brett Favre threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns a day after his father died of a heart attack.
The Raiders are down to their final five games in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas next year, and with the Lions set to make their final visit to the Black Hole on Sunday, Bevell said he’ll forever remember his first regular season game in the Coliseum as an NFL coach.
The familiar confines of the Coliseum have been unfamiliar to the Raiders for over a month. The Silver and Black have not played in Oakland since losing to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 15, going 2-3 in over a month away from the East Bay. Starting Sunday against the Detroit Lions, the Raiders will play three home games in a span of two weeks.
Sunday’s game against the Lions kicks off a stretch in which the Raiders can gain serious ground in the AFC playoff race. The Lions (3-3-1), Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) and Cincinnati Bengals (0-8) will come to Oakland between Sunday and Nov. 17, and the Raiders can set themselves up for a meaningful December if they win (at least) two of three. Oakland will need to beat Detroit first on Sunday, though.
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Here’s how to watch the Raiders-Lions Week 9 game live online and on TV:
Start time: Sunday, Nov. 3, at 1:05 p.m. PT
TV channel: FOX (KTVU)
Live stream: fuboTV — Get a free trial
Live streaming: New in 2019, fans can watch local and primetime games FOR FREE on their phone and tablet devices through Yahoo! Sports. Links to watch become available once the game begins.
Postgame show: Watch Lions Postgame Live presented by Sling TV immediately following the conclusion of this week’s game on DetroitLions.com, the Detroit Lions Mobile App, Facebook and Twitter. The show includes live press conferences, analysis, clips from the locker room and more.
TV: CBS-TV, Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), James Lofton (analyst), A.J. Ross (reporter).
ODDS: Texans -6.5 (opened at Texans -6.5). OVER/UNDER: 51.5 (opened at 48).
SERIES: Texans lead all-time series 7-4. LAST MEETING: Texans won 27-14 in Houston on Jan. 7, 2017 in AFC Wild Card game.
WHY RAIDERS COULD WIN: Derek Carr will be facing a Texans secondary that’s had issues, including last week when the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett threw for 326 yards and four touchdown passes. Houston has permitted the most passing yards in the NFL (275.5 per game). … Houston will be without one of its top game-breakers, receiver Will Fuller, who is now out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury. … While the Texans’ Deshaun Watson is one of the more dangerous quarterbacks, there could be opportunities for the sack-starved Raiders to get to him. Houston’s offensive line, ranked 25th in the NFL, has allowed 21 sacks in seven games.
WHY TEXANS COULD WIN: The Raiders’ top offensive threat, Josh Jacobs, could find it hard to find lanes against Houston’s defense, which is the third-stingiest against the run. The Texans have only allowed an average of 57 yards on the ground in the their last three games. … Given how Aaron Rodgers diced up the Raiders’ defense, Oakland might also find it difficult to contain Watson, who has thrown for 1,952 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s also run for almost 200 yards and five