The Lions have seemingly found their groove offensively this season under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Of course, the defense has simultaneously faltered and is displaying some worrisome performances. The offense (and by the offense, I mean Matthew Stafford) has carried the team to most of their wins and kept them in games they would otherwise have no business being in.
While the Lions have enjoyed consistent success moving the ball through the air, there has been a lot of variation on the receiving end. Some weeks, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson take the spotlight. Other weeks, they’re dormant while Kenny Golladay and Marvin Hall take things deep. Then, sprinkled in there somewhere, are Marvin Jones Jr.’s signature dominant games.
Bold prediction of the week: Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay raid the Raiders end zone
Each week it seems Matthew Stafford finds his go-to duo, but it never occurs with Jones and Golladay. Our very own John Whiticar found this interesting tidbit:
The last time both Jones and Golladay scored a touchdown in the same game was Week 5 of last year.— John Whiticar (@Whiticar) October 20, 2019
When one goes off, the other doesn't.
This week, that changes. Danny Amendola was the shining star against the New York Giants, but he seems to show up one game at a time and not have back-to-back hot performances. Marvin Hall has started gaining some attention from safeties and corners and will likely need a couple weeks to cool off before making more deep plays.
That leaves T.J. Hockenson, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay as the possible go-to targets on Sunday. Hock will most definitely get his fair share, as the Raiders’ LB1 is Tahir Whitehead, and I’m sure Lions fans remember... how do I phrase this... how much room for improvement Whitehead has in pass coverage.
Now, there will also be plenty of balls to go around. Whitehead is LB1 for a reason, and that’s because the Raiders’ front (including up-and-coming and former Eastern Michigan defensive lineman Maxx Crosby) prioritizes stuffing the run.
The Raiders’ offense hasn’t been great, but it has done just enough to keep the team afloat. Derek Carr is quietly having a better season than his 2016 near-MVP campaign, but it’s overshadowed by the Raiders’ run-heavy nature. The combination of Carr’s hot hand and the Lions defense’s sheer inability to stop the run lately means the Raiders likely won’t have much trouble moving the ball. Even if they find a way to stop Josh Jacobs, Carr will surely pick on a hurting Darius Slay and struggling Rashaan Melvin.
That means the Lions will be in a shootout, and their banged up backfield combined with the Raiders defense’s prioritization of stopping the run means it’s open season for Matthew Stafford. With plenty of balls to go around in a high-scoring game, Golladay and Jones will, for the first time in a long time, both find the end zone this Sunday.