The Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions have been two of the NFL’s worst franchises over the last decade. When the two teams meet at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon one team attempt to keep their postseason hopes alive, while the other hopes to earn a positive result in a highly disappointing season.
Oakland has lost two games after their 4-3 start, though they are still in the playoff hunt. Detroit is tied for the worst record in the NFC, but they are coming off an upset win over the Green Bay Packers.
The Raiders are favored on the road, giving the Lions one point, according to vegasinsider.com. The over/under is 48.5 points.
Detroit’s Struggling Offense
It’s hard to believe that Detroit’s offense has been so bad this season. But despite having a quarterback that once threw 41 touchdown passes and the NFL’s best wide receiver from two years ago, the Lions have one of the worst offenses in the league.
In nine of their games, Detroit has scored less than 20 points on seven occasions. Even in their victory over the Packers, the Lions still only managed 18 points. Detroit ranks 29th in scoring average with 18.6 points per game, and they are 27th in total offense.
Matthew Stafford is completing a career-high 64.4 percent of his passes with 15 touchdown passes, but has also been intercepted 12 times. Calvin Johnson has caught 54 passes for 740 yards. Detroit’s run game is the worst in the league, and Ameer Abdullah, their leading rusher, has totaled just 240 yards on the ground.
Oakland’s Defensive Woes
It looked like the Raiders might be headed for their first playoff berth in 13 years, but the team’s defense might keep them out of the postseason. While Oakland’s offense has been better than expected, it hasn’t been enough to make up for Oakland’s inability to keep teams out of the end zone.
The Raiders have allowed at least 30 points four times, going 1-3 in those games. They’ve surrendered 68 combined points in back-to-back losses, including their 30-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week. Coming into the game, Minnesota had scored 30 points just once this season, averaging 21.6 points in their previous five games.
Only the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints have allowed more yards per game than Oakland, and they rank 27th in points allowed per game at 26.8. The Raiders’ Achilles heel has been their inability to defend the pass, despite having Defensive Player of the Year candidate Charles Woodson in the secondary.
It’s easy to say that the Raiders aren’t a real playoff contender. The team hasn’t been good in over a decade, and two straight losses seem to indicate that Oakland could soon be a few games under .500. But a closer look at their schedule shows that the Raiders will rebound.
Oakland has played one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL, and their 4-5 record doesn’t tell the whole story. They haven’t lost to a bad team yet, suffering three defeats to teams with at least seven wins and one loss to the 6-4 Pittsburgh Steelers. The Raiders lost to the 4-5 Chicago Bears, but they are better than their record would suggest, considering Jay Cutler was hurt earlier in the season.
The Raiders have taken care of business against bad teams like the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers. They even blew out the New York Jets, who are alive and well in the playoff hunt.
Oakland has beaten up on the bad teams on their schedule, and the Lions are one of the worst teams in football. Detroit should struggle to keep up with the Raiders’ offense.
Oakland over Detroit, 30-20