The Oakland Raiders are coming off of a tough loss to the Minnesota Vikings and will now head out on the road to take on a Detroit Lions team that just earned their second win of the season by defeating the Green Bay Packers.
Derek Carr and the Raiders offense struggled to gain any momentum against the Vikings defense, scoring just 14 points. Carr and the offense will have an easier task this week, taking on a Lions defense that is allowing over 384 yards of total offense per game (25th in the NFL).
Carr and his receivers should be able to find some good passing lanes to get the ball downfield, as the Lions secondary is giving up 260 yards per game through the air (23rd in the league). It should be a good opportunity for Michael Crabtree and rookie standout Amari Cooper to get behind the secondary for big plays.
Carr must be aware of where Lions safety Glover Quin is on the field, as he's the only player on the team with more than one interception, having two. Instead, the Lions are more effective by creating turnovers via fumbles (seven recorvered fumbles).
The Lions have had a tough time keeping opposing running backs contained, allowing over 124 rushing yard per game (28th in the NFL). This should leave some open room for Latavius Murray to get the running game going, which will help open up Carr and the offense. The Raiders must try and block linebacker 10-year veteran Stephen Tulloch, who leads the team with 67 tackles.
Starting center Rodney Hudson was limited in practice, making him questionable to return to the starting offensive line. Getting him back could be a big factor, especially against a Lions pass rush that features the athletic Ezekial Ansah who leads the team with seven sacks on the season.
On offense, the Lions are anchored by seventh-year quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has thrown for 2,325 passing yards on 64.4 percent with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Raiders secondary will have a tough task going against All-Pro Calvin Johnson, who leads the team with 54 receptions for 740 yards and three touchdowns.
On the opposite side, Johnson is complimented by the speedy wide receiver Golden Tate, who is always dangerous after the catch. The Raiders must make sure they have good tackling technique to limit any big plays after the catch.
Oakland's rush defense has taken a step back in recent weeks, but will get a much easier matchup with a Lions rushing offense that ranks dead last in the NFL (just 66.9 rushing yards per game). Containing the running game will allow Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards Jr. to gear up and get to Stafford and disrupt the passing game.
The Raiders will remain on the road next week as they head to Tennessee to take on a struggling Titans team.