After dropping a rough one to Houston, the Oakland Raiders finally return home to Oakland. The Detroit Lions arrive, looking to hold on to their fleeting playoff hopes. At 3-4, the Raiders can still make a playoff push. With a favorable schedule on the backend, the Raiders can start stacking wins against teams they should be able to defeat. With that said, what gameplan should they employ? FPC writers Ray Aspuria and Pete Camarillo settle in and explain what must occur.
How would you attack the Lions offense?
Detroit’s ranked 18th in total offense (yards) but are 6th in the league in passing touchdowns at 16. Conversely, the Lions are 29th in rushing TDs at 2. This is a tough for for a Raiders team adept at stopping the run but getting gouged in the passing game. Matthew Stafford is coming off a two game stretch with 7 passing TDs and has thrown one in every game sans one.
Stafford is one of the best pure passers in the league and the Raiders will need to disrupt that — somehow. Whether that’s blitzing or man-to-man with zone sprinkled in, Oakland will need all it can muster or Stafford will throw for 4 TDs and have a perfect passer rating.
Play complimentary football. Don’t turn the ball over in crucial times and keep the offense off the ball. Make Detroit feel the urge to score every time on the road and pray a Raiders player can create a turnover.
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With a win versus Detroit, where do the Raiders sit in the AFC hunt and which team presents the biggest obstacle in making the playoffs?
The Los Angeles Chargers are the biggest obstacle. They can look dead in the water one minute and then rise up like a phoenix from the ashes the next. Old Man Philip Rivers is always a Raider nuisance and Oakland plays them twice the rest of the way.
If the Raiders drop both of those games (Week 10 and Week 16), kiss a winning season goodbye.
The biggest obstacle is the front seven on defense. This pass rush by committee only works for so long. The Raiders need a player who can make a play by himself on third down. Linebackers also got to do better in coverage but I am not sure they are capable.
Otherwise, the league has never been this open. The Chiefs are cracking and the Raiders already played one half with them early in the year. Oakland could set themselves as a surprise playoff candidate in the Wild Card with the Chargers underwhelming. Except, the Raiders have not even tried to improve their bottom-feeder defense. That means Oakland’s last season will probably finish at .500 and that is all.