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Previewing the Detroit Lions' next opponent: Are the Raiders a playoff contender?

Could the Lions actually win two games in a row this season?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions look to string together their first back-to-back wins this week, hosting the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are a team that is still in playoff contention despite dropping their last two games. Oakland is three games behind the falling Broncos in the division, but just one game out of the final wild card spot, currently held by the 5-4 Bills. Can the Lions play spoiler and make the Raiders' postseason run that much harder? Let's take a closer look at the Raiders.

Oakland Raiders (4-5)

Schedule so far:

Week 1 - vs. Bengals - lost, 13-33

Week 2 - vs. Ravens - won, 37-33

Week 3 - at Browns - won, 27-20

Week 4 - at Bears - lost, 20-22

Week 5 - vs. Broncos - lost, 10-16

Week 7 - at Chargers - won, 37-29

Week 8 - vs. Jets - won, 34-30

Week 9 - at Steelers - lost, 35-38

Week 10 - vs. Vikings - lost, 14-30

Reasons for optimism:

The Lions are coming off a big win and a huge defensive performance. Their win in Green Bay was exactly the kind of performance that won them 11 games last year; a smothering defense and an offense that did just enough to earn the victory.

As for the Raiders, they have struggled as of late, especially on defense. In the past four weeks, they're allowing an average of 31.8 points per game.

Though it doesn't have much bearing on this specific matchup, it's worth noting that the Raiders have not defeated the Lions since 1996 (0-3 since then).

Reasons for pessimism:

The Raiders have been one of best offenses in the league this season. They are averaging 25.2 points per game (ninth) and rank sixth in offensive DVOA. Derek Carr has established himself among the best quarterbacks in the league; his 101.4 passer rating puts him sixth in the NFL.

Detroit's chances to repeat their defensive performance against this offense is unlikely, especially considering the recent injuries to the Lions' secondary. But Detroit's play in Green Bay was extremely unexpected, so anything could happen against Oakland.

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