Ahoy, Raider fans! It is I, RaiderDamus, the man with the plan, your paragon of virtue, the excellence of execution, and the World's Freshest Man. This week has required some extra viewing time with the finnicky Great Beyond, which is why this article is so late. In any case, after the jump, I shall reveal all that was revealed to me.
It used to be when a team faced the Lions, they could chalk up an automatic 'W' in their record sheet. No longer. These Lions are big, fast, strong, and mean. Jim Schwartz is a good coach- but when one grows up watching Wayne Fontes putz around the sidelines taking credit for Barry Sanders' awesomeness, one holds Detroit coaches to a slightly lower standard. Bobby Ross wasn't much better. If Detroit had employed a quarterback worth a damn during Barry Sanders' career, he might have stayed a few more years. Instead he was stuck with the likes of Charlie Batch and Scott Mitchell. To add insult to injury, he was placed on the cover of Madden. Blecch. I'd have retired too.
Here is the list of Good Detroit Lions Quarterbacks Throughout History:
1. Bobby Layne
2. Matt Stafford
Please keep in mind that Bobby Layne's last season as a Detroit Lion was 1957. Were any of you born then? I was negative twenty-seven years old. My point is that Matt Stafford is a legitimate quarterback, and almost single-handedly makes the Lions a legitimate team. Ndamukong Suh or no Ndamukong Suh, if the Lions had a worse QB at the helm they would be a considerably worse team. For proof of this, see any of the games started last year by Drew Stanton, or the entire 2008 season, wherein despite having Calvin Johnson on the team, the Lions failed to win a single game. It was this misfortune that brought Stafford into the fold.
My long-winded and possibly obscure point here is that none of the players on the Lions matter except Matt Stafford. That is not to say that none of their players are good- they have a lot of talent. But the Lions do not win without Stafford. This season, the Lions offensive line can be described as "good" and that's been enough to put them into playoff contention. The Raiders' current defensive line play can be described as somewhere between "crappy" and "downright abysmal". Therefore I can only conclude that the key to beating the Lions relies almost solely on penetration and pass rushing.
Matt Stafford is a very good quarterback, but he is no Aaron Rodgers. He does not get better under pressure, he gets worse. He throws the ball to the other team *cough Carson Palmer cough*. So the only way to beat the Lions, who are almost certainly a better team than the Raiders RIGHT NOW, is to harass Stafford all game and beat the blocks of the Detroit guards. Richard Seymour is the most important player on the Raider team this week, as he has the ability to do this.
On the other side of the ball, the Raiders absolutely have to establish the run. I do not care if it takes three quarters to do so. The Lions made the Broncos one-dimensional and beat them 45-10. They are ball hawks and they are physical. If the defense can keep the game low-scoring it will play to Oakland's advantage. Now don't be all "well that was Tim Tebow blah blah." Yeah, it was, and they were the last team he lost to. Denver's defense got blown apart in that game and they are a better unit than ours.
I said the Raiders would get wiped off the face of the earth last week. You scoffed at me. I said it would be 45-17, Packers. It was 46-16, Packers. When will you stop doubting me?
I think the Raiders CAN win if they do what I listed above. However, I don't think they will. Lions win, 31-21.