Five quick things I’ll be looking for during today’s Lions-Raiders game:
1. 600 or 220?
I had the opportunity to answer a few questions for Just Blog Baby, the Oakland Raiders blog on the FanSided Network. One of the interesting questions Chris Shellcroft asked me was whether it would be more likely we’d see a combined 600 passing yards or 220 penalty yards. The better scenario for the Lions would probably be the 600 combined passing yards considering Matthew Stafford figures to do more damage than Carson Palmer. Then again, the Lions secondary has had its fair share of injuries.
2. Lions versus the run
For as much success the Lions have with their defensive front, they’ve been prone to giving up chunks of yardage on the ground. Darren McFadden remains out for the Raiders and Michael Bush hasn’t been as effective in recent weeks. Keeping Bush down will force the Raiders to throw more than they’d like and put the Lions in position to force turnovers like they’ve been able to for much of this season.
3. Lions ability to run the ball
The Raiders defense will likely be nearly solely focused on stopping the Lions passing game leaving room for Kevin Smith and the other Lions runners to work with. What they do with it could be the story of the game.
The best chance for a successful stretch run comes with a healthy team. The Lions are battling a number of key injuries but they seem to be on the upswing as the season winds down. It is always important to emerge from a game healthy but that is especially important this week as guys like Kevin Smith and Chris Houston have a chance to prove their injuries won’t be a lingering issue the rest of the season.
5. Happy or sad?
It is a long plane ride home from Oakland. A loss will make it feel even longer while a win will be reason to start celebrating ahead of next week’s game on Christmas Eve.