The Lions sit at 3-3-1 with a lot of ground to make up if they want to push for a playoff spot. A win on the road in Oakland will be a small stepping stone for their journey, but it absolutely needs to happen.
Oakland presents a challenge that many did not expect before the season began. Once thought of as an “easy win” by some, the Raiders have been giving plenty of teams problems this year. They’re coming off of a close loss to a very good Houston Texans team that needed to score two touchdowns late in the game to escape with a win at home.
The biggest mismatch in Oakland’s favor will come when their offense takes the field. Currently, the Raiders have the eighth-ranked offense in terms of DVOA, and they’re getting the job done both through the air and on the ground. The Lions have had their fair share of issues defensively, so this will be a huge test for them as they try to turn things around.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player needs to have a big game to ensure a win in Oakland?
My answer: Two players on the defensive side of the ball come to mind for me: Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Tavon Wilson.
Snacks will be in his normal role of stopping the run, and he’s going to have his work cut out for him against the ninth-ranked rushing offense by DVOA. He’s had a very up-and-down year so far, and a lot of that probably has to do with him currently dealing with a groin injury.
If I had to narrow it down to one player, though, I’m going with Tavon Wilson. With Tracy Walker sidelined, it will likely be Tavon Wilson getting a lot of looks in Walker’s role and he will certainly be asked often to cover Raiders TE Darren Waller, who has had a tremendous year so far. The Lions have focused on eliminating TEs from beating them already this year, so it’s also possible that Wilson will have a little help from his friends.