What in the blue hell are the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions doing having a football game and it’s not on Thanksgiving?!
We’re supposed to have a sneak-early dose of turkey and stuffing and rolls, turn on the TV and see Ford Field’s shiny surface on a holiday afternoon, with jerseys so white and silver and blue that it hurts your eyes to look at them, as Burt Lancaster says in Field of Dreams.
(By the way my immersion-critic’s take on Field of Dreams is that it’s all supposed to be a short story, and Terence Mann wrote it. It makes a nice little “butterfly paradox” riddle for a paradox of a Week 9 betting line in Oakland.)
The Lions have had some episodes in a mostly-frustrating season, but it’s nothing compared to the episode Jon Gruden and the Raiders had in the preseason with a certain WR. Yet the 3-4 Raiders – with the lesser record and the infinitely-less-respected QB – are the point-spread favorites at home against visiting Detroit.
Who: Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
When: Sunday, November 3rd, 4:05 PM EST
Where: RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Lines: DET (+3) at OAK (-3) / O/U Total: (51.5)
It’s another battle of teams vying to keep playoff hopes alive, the Detroit Lions at 3-3-1 and the Raiders at 3-4. Silver and Black will begin a 3-game home stand after spending quite a few weeks away.
Oakland was roughed up in road games against the Packers and Texans, giving up 69 points combined. While Gruden’s squad will be happy to return home for an extended stay, the Raiders will have a difficult chore with Matthew Stafford and this Lions passing attack arriving this week.
The Lions were able to snap a 3-game losing skid last week with a 31-26 win over the Giants at Ford Field last week. The schedule hasn’t made it easy, offering the Chiefs, Packers and Vikings in consecutive weeks, and with the NFC North being a fairly-loaded division it seems as though every game is already a playoff game for Matt Patricia’s Lions.
Matt Stafford has been a bright spot, as his 16:4 TD/INT ratio is among the best in the NFL, and he currently has a QBR of 105.3, on pace for the highest rating of an 11-year (so far) career. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. are both on pace for 1,000-yard seasons if they can stay healthy, and the addition of Danny Amendola. who has 28 catches for 347 yards this season, is another nice boost to the offense.
It’s weird that the O/U isn’t rising for the contest in Oakland. The Raider defense has allowed 8 passing touchdowns in 8 quarters, and the hosts might be able to match Detroit through the air or at least in combined offense.
Talented big men on the Detroit DL could potentially make it a long day for rookie Oakland RB Josh Jacobs, but Derek Carr would get a huge break if Lion CB Darius Slay is unable to go:
Coming off their bye in Week Five, the 3-3-1 Detroit Lions suffered two straight losses to divisional foes the 7-1 Green Bay Packers and the 6-2 Minnesota Vikings. But the Pride were able to bounce back in Week Eight, defeating the New York Giants in Ford Field, 31-26. Now the Lions will attempt to keep their short winning-streak alive by traveling to California to face off against the 3-4 Oakland Raiders. But Detroit will do so with several of their players questionable for the contest.
On their final injury report released on Friday, the Lions listed six players as questionable for the game in Oakland, California. Those names include running back Tra Carson (hamstring), guard Graham Glasgow (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. (groin/resting veteran), cornerback Amani Oruwariye (knee), defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (ankle), and cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring).
Both Slay and Glasgow were full participants during Friday’s practice session. While the other four were all limited. Safety Tracy Walker was designated as officially out for Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders. The starting defender suffered a knee injury against the Giants in Week Eight. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels was listed as doubtful against the Raiders as he continues to struggle to return from a foot injury. Daniels was able to practice on a limited basis throughout the entire week, but the doubtful designation means he’s unlikely to play this Sunday.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford (hip) and defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand (not injury related) also appeared on the Detroit Lions’ final injury report. Stafford was able to be a full participant in practices all week.
Speaking of quarterbacks, it’s funny how everyone is starting to trust an Oakland attack led by the “weerest quarterback ev-ar” or whatever people called Derek Carr at the start of the season. Many articles suggested that Carr’s exit from the Raiders was a matter of time. QB play is a continuum, and handicappers have short memories. Carr was always a good NFL passer, he just can’t take off and run like so many rookies can. That means it’s precision-passing or punts.
I like the Raiders ATS thanks to the Lions’ unwillingness to stick to the run sometimes, which could spell trouble for Stafford in the 2nd half.
The better pick, however, might be the Over (51.5). Expect fireworks and feasting receivers – even if it’s not a holiday after all.