Countdown to Paydirt: vs Detroit Lions

The Oakland Raiders continue the 2014 preseason with their first home game of the season, hosting the Detroit Lions at 7:00 p.m. PST.

The Raiders are coming off a 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in which the team was quite unimpressive, looking rather flat in almost every aspect of the game.

Oakland is coming off of a couple of spirited practices in which they went down to Oxnard to practice with the Dallas Cowboys. The high-intensity practices may have been just what the team needed to build team unity and spark a fire.

Matt Schaub and the starting offense will surely look to improve in the passing game where he finished just 3 of 7 for 28 yards. He struggled to find a connection with his wide receivers and hopefully the work they got against the Cowboys will be beneficial. There should be some room to pass the ball against the Lions defense that gave up 246.9 passing yards per game last year.

Oakland’s offensive line did a very good job against the Vikings opening up rushing lands and it will be interesting to see if they can do the same against a pretty good Detroit Lions defensive line that gave up just 99.8 rushing yards per game last year, good enough for sixth in the NFL.

Cornerback Tarell Brown and the starting Raiders secondary struggled defending the passing game of Matt Cassel and the Vikings offense. The task certainly doesn’t get easier as they host last season’s sixth-best offense that produced 392.1 yards per game last season. 280.1 of that 392.1 yards is through the air, giving them the third-best passing attack in the league.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Lions have such a strong passing attack since they currently have the best wide receiver in the game, Calvin Johnson. That being said, the Raiders may not have to worry about him after being banged up the last couple of seasons and currently battling a finger injury.

One bright side of the Raiders losing week one preseason game was their ability to get to the quarterback. The Raiders defense quietly racked up six sacks on the Vikings. Applying pressure on Matthew Stafford and the Lions quarterbacks will help disrupt that potent passing game.

The Lions are coming off of a 13-12 victory against the Cleveland Browns. Though their rushing attack struggled with just 3.7 yards per carry, they have a strong one-two punch with the speedster Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Containing the Lions’ running game could go a long way as it will help eliminate play-action success, while also creating longer third-down attempts.

One main point of emphasis this week should be for the team to limit their penalties. The Raiders had 13 penalties last week, too many to find success in a game. Expect the Raiders to find a way to limit these penalties.

Though the record doesn’t matter, head coach Dennis Allen most certainly wants to see improvement from his team after their loss last week.

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