This is for all the marbles, folks. If the Raiders lose this week, they can pretty much kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. The game within the game is of utmost importance. These two teams are very evenly matched, and both are fighting to earn a playoff spot. It will not be about who wants it more but who can be the smartest team on Sunday.
The Raiders and Lions are two of the most penalized teams in the league. The Raiders have long been known for shooting themselves in the foot with stupid penalties, but they may be meeting their match in the Lions. Currently the top four NFL leaders in penalties among defensive tackles all play for the Raiders and Lions: Richard Seymour (9), Tommy Kelly (8), Corey Williams (7), and Ndamukong Suh (6).
Ndamukong Suh has become known for his personal foul penalties -- mainly because of the viciousness with which he commits those fouls. He is coming off a two game suspension for jamming an offensive lineman's head into the turf and then trying to kick him while he was down.
Richard Seymour was ejected from the game in Miami two weeks ago for throwing a jab at Dolphins' offensive lineman Richie Incognito. It was nowhere near the same level as Suh's stomping incident which is the only reason he got off with just an ejection and a fine.
This game will very likely come down to which team can make the fewest stupid penalties and mistakes.
Denarius Moore has been practicing all week and is set to play on Sunday. I have talked a lot about Moore's value to this team. I think he is possibly the most important player to return from injury. His speed and playmaking abilities are absolutely necessary to the success of this offense.
Carson Palmer trusts him, and Moore has proven to be one of only a couple reliable deep threats on this team. Palmer thrives on his ability to be accurate with the deep ball and that portion of the Raider offense has been gone with Moore and Jacoby Ford both injured. A one-dimensional offense is a no-dimensional offense, as has been proven the past two games with the Raiders being held scoreless through the first half of both games.
Hue was asked about what having Denarius Moore back means to this offense.
"I think it helps," said Jackson. "Because obviously he's a playmaker, and he knows how to make plays and can make plays. So it gives you another weapon that you haven't had at your disposal. He's very dynamic with what he does. It helps, but by no stretch of the imagination is he going to be the key to winning the game by himself."
Windows of opportunity
The two areas in which the Raiders have struggled in recent weeks have been the passing game and defending the run. Well, actually they have long struggled in defending the run. Those are the two areas in which the Lions are most vulnerable.
The Lions secondary lacked a lot of depth as it was and they are fielding backups. It is one of the main reason they have been giving up nearly 32 points per game.
Their running game is probably the most banged up in the league. They lost so many running backs this season, they called up Kevin Smith off the street. He had one good game and then he too went down with injury. Now they are starting veteran Maurice Morris.
Last week the Raiders gave up the first 20+ yard TD run by a Packer in two years. If they can't stop Maurice Morris from running all over them, there is no hope for this team. If Morris does have a big day, it would mean the Raiders lose this game, at which point they would have little to no hope of making the playoffs anyway.
This team MUST take advantage of the Lions' weak secondary and running game.
Throw it away, big man
Carson Palmer has been fantastic in his ability to deliver the ball where he wants this season and picking up huge plays in the process. But that confidence may also be his undoing. It has him forcing the ball into coverage a lot and the result is interceptions.
In this game he won't have a lot of time to throw. The Lions have a relentless pass rush. This will allow him a finite window to scan the field before making his decision. Hue Jackson and Al Saunders must design into the playbook an available check down receiver for those instances in which there is no one open downfield. But more importantly, Palmer needs to throw the ball away. As they say, "Live to fight another down."
Al Saunders touched on this after practice Friday:
"I think most quarterbacks that are aggressive in nature are that way. They believe in their abilities and believe that they can make a play, and there's just some times when you can't do that, and Carson knows that better than anybody. That's something that's worked on, on a daily basis. He'll find that true water level that will be even for him and we'll be able to move forward. He's a real bright guy, and he's a tremendously talented guy. He understands this game real well, and he understands what we need to do to prevent turnovers like we've had in the last couple of weeks."
Look for a lot of check down receivers in this game and a concerted effort by Palmer to just throw the ball where no one can get it when things break down. If not, it could get ugly. As Saunders pointed out, the Lions may have a banged up secondary but they are opportunistic. This is very much like the Packers secondary who intercepted Palmer four times last week.
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If you hate Bresnahan like I do... Go the this facebook page I have made for him and hope that he gets fired, now...
Too many injuries in the DB. It's easy to blame Bresnahan - but when you lose Nnamdi and Eugene before the season even starts - it's not going to be a good year for pass defense. Lito Sheppard shouldn't even be in the NFL at this point - much less starting for us.
Detroit exploited the zone on that deep ball - that wasn't man coverage.
why in the heck wasn't he double teamed the whole game? the vikings held him to like 4 catches last week and we let him run wild! our season is over! the broncos lost, the jets lost, the titans lost and we were in prime position to make a move and blew it! i am so pissed right now its unbelievable! even though carson missed on a couple big pass plays, we were up by 13, and blew it!
The prevent that prevents us from putting anyone but McClain on Calvin Johnson One on One. Chuck B, if Hue doesn't fire you he needs to go with you. I hope Mark Davis hires a GM who whips Hue's A$$, hires DelRio and who knows maybe there will be some other great HC available now that we have shown we can come close to playoff potential.
If only this were a third world dictatorship where the DC could be shot!
DHB and Palmer had great games. Although Palmer just barely overthrew two wide open WRs. Bush had some good runs. Run D was good for the most part and the DL was putting some pressure on Stafford.
The secondary sucked donkey balls. Seriously, Bresnahan is still our DC? I mean, who in their right mind would put a LB on Megatron? Who?! 214 yards and two scores for Mega. Detroit had 99 yards to go and down by six, with no timeouts. Only a Bresnahan coached defense could screw that up.
I am gonna start a facebook page for the sole purpose of trying to get Bresnahan fired. I will leave the link here whenever I make it.
You should hate Hue Jackson too. The odds of Detroit scoring 3 times (TD + FG + FG) were so incredibly remote with 7 minutes left in the game - I was stunned when they didn't go for 2 after the fumble recovery. Critical error.
Couple that with Jackson's usual conservative play when he has a lead late in the game and it's a recipe for an unbelievable loss. He played it that way with Cleveland and almost blew it. You don't get away with the same mistake twice. He's playing like the Bengals head coach - not the Raiders head coach. Don't take your foot off the gas when you THINK you have the game in the bag. When will he learn that simple lesson?
Stafford 400 and 4 TD's: Time for Chris Mooney to say the Defense were great again. How the f**k did we blow that lead???
with all the injurys we got and we have a playmaker on the sideline in pryor who cant get on the field? are you serious. he might not be a nfl ready qb yet, but i know one thing for sure being from ohio, the kid is a athlete period and is a threat. im not saying get him the ball 15 times, but 5 or 6 times sprinkled in cant possibly hurt could it. we have our main playmakers hurt and getting one back thats not 100% in moore isn't like our offensive woes as of late ends does it. get terrelle some plays here or there, and i bet he changes the complexion just a little bit. we need to pull out all the stops today hue, cause a lost pretty much means the end of our season!
Chris Johnson done for the season. He has been put on the reserve / non-football illness list.
What I don't understand though is he has been rumored to have been replaced by DE Mason Brodine. Now I know we are thin on the DL at the moment, but I would think getting another RB on the roster to help Bush out would be a lot more important. Bush can't do it all himself and McFadden and Jones don't look like they will be back this season.
@LeviDamien Do you see McFadden returning at all this year now?
With DMac and Jones out, the lack of speed to compliment Bush I think is our biggest weakness on offense outside of Satele and Barnes sucking eggs. One thing I was just thinking that could maybe help add a little speed into our run game was Pryor.... I don't really care for him and I think he is overrated, but he is fast. What if Oakland used him a little bit in like Wildcat/QB option type plays to add some speed to our running game.
The offense would be best served with Satele and Barnes on the bench. The defense would be best served with Bresnahan clearing out his office.
Can't say I expected him back. All I could think was that maybe they were holding out hope that McFadden would be healthy enough to play in the post-season. Well we can kiss the post-season good bye now.
Where did you pick that up?
Nnamdi yes, but honestly Eugene wouldn't have been any more of an upgrade at safety at all.
Why would you trade Bey? I can understand wanting to see McClain traded. We may as well have just kept Capt. Kirk. At least he tried to be a leader. I can also understand wanting to trade McFadden (although with his injury problems I don't think there would be much worth in a trade for him). But Bey? Bey has been getting better and better. Plays hard and is really starting to emerge. Why give up on Bey now?
I'm all over that page too! There is no excuse for Bresnahan's lousy performance at DC.
@JarrodRollins I will join that page right away! Death Ro on Megatron - are you kidding me? You won't ever find a bigger mismatch!! Chucky gotta go!
@Indy! So true! And he's done it before! He is a first year HC, but come on, you gotta learn from your mistakes a little bit! What ever happened to the "stomp on their throat when they lie down" mantra? Hate how our entire team suddenly becomes scared and predictible - recipe for disaster!
@SnBsn69 He is such a bad D coord! Death Ro alone with Megatron with only Boyd as help on top - are you kidding me? Prevent should at least prevent deep balls, Chucky needs to get the fuck out! Routt had a really bad day - then help him on some of the plays! Come on man!
@DevonRaiderUK ... Once again that is! We don't deserve the PO when we can't even close a game like this! Embarrassing!
@nilbymouth Adding a RB would have been much better than adding another DL guy. I still think highly of Louis Rankin if he is available....
@JarrodRollins hey maybe we can use pryor like the donkeys use tebow and make him our savior of the season
@JarrodRollins Cant really see Pryor being unleashed in a game of this importance. Not going to happen.
I think there are times when the Raiders are too predictable and try to establish a power running game even though the O-Line are obviously not winning the battle. Miami and Chicago spring to mind. This time the Raiders need to feed them Bush, Bush and more Bush. The Lions D-Line is great against the pass but not against the run. The Raiders can take some shots down the field off the play fake but they've got to win this one off the back of the running game. I'd go straight at them, Suh included. His partner at DT Williams isn't quality and as good as Avril and KVB are pass rushing they're no run stuffing monsters. And if the Raiders cant do that then they dont really deserve to go to the play-offs.
@JarrodRollins If he is ready for it and it fits what HJ and AS wants to do, then he'll be out there! Don't think there is anything they won't do if they feel it can help - HJ will open up than can hes been talking about all season! But personally I think Reece and Moore will be the ones they try to use on reverses and reverses, with Bush getting some key dump offs! Wouldn't completely rule out Taiwan either, cause if there is any chance of him playing, he'll be out there! Extremely important game - as well as the Donkey game!
@JarrodRollins haha. a good one. don't forget trying to get del rio in bresnahans place
@DevonRaiderUK You may be right my friend, Suh will be the biggest challenge we will face this season. I hope we start Wiz at C or Carson will spend more time on the ground then anything. Wish we had DMC for this one. I'd say we could catch them with some draw plays but I'm not sure how suited Bush is for them. Normally you have your scat back run them. They do have undersized linebackers perhaps we can run over them. I believe Levi is correct in that this is a make or break game, we have to win out to make the playoffs. We will at least get to see what Hue's Raiders are made of.
Well, he still catches critical passes with his chest and misses them. I think we like him for good reasons but not the reasons that win games. I think our WR corps has been so bad for so long that his production this season looks better than it really is (especially when it counts). We're settling. I like him but I suspect we can do better and we're short of draft picks just now with our shiny new gun from Cincy. Bey value is up. But it may not matter if others see him in the same light.
LOL! Billboard anyone? LMAO!
I am so incredibly pissed off that I'm glad Iam a long way from the situation. It's pitchfork and torch time at Raider HQ!
@DevonRaiderUK Was only suggesting Pryor as a change of pace type player. Only was thinking of using him for a handful of plays. Dont want him to be a focal point of our offense.
@DylanAlexander Their DL has good speed on the outside with KVB and Avril. Veldheer and Barnes better show up this week. Avril is really under-rated. Watched him a few weeks ago and he was lightning in a jar.
@SnBsn69 That it is! Get a GM and start getting things done!
Nope! I think he is an overrated gun slinging QB without a leader mantality and who is more likely to surrender a turnover than make a big play.
This team needs to go back to the short-medium low-risk play action passes that suit our current WRs with Bush and Reece pounding the ball; sign another speed RB to the roster and put either McFadden or Jones on IR (or both) as they are both very unlikely to be back this season at all; and sustain some decent long drives eating as much clock as possible to keep the defense off the field more and keep them fresher. Once this has been established then they can throw one or two more controlled deep balls instead of these damn 50/50 passes that are getting picked off just as often as they are completed!
Passes like the brilliant pass action deep ball to Louis Murphy last year against the Chargers. That was a thing of beauty!
He isn't going to get your player of the season vote is he! Still time to for him to turn it round tho. Really depends on the protection and who's playing at WR.
@JarrodRollins Could be interesting if used like that and / or as a decoy. I just dont see Jackson doing that IMO.