The last time the Oakland Raiders played at the Oakland Coliseum, Major League Baseball was still wrapping up its regular season, and the NBA and NHL seasons hadn't even started. After five games on the road, with a bye week sprinkled in, the Raiders will play their first game at home since Sept. 15 when they host the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.
The Raiders (3-4) began the year with back-to-back home games against the Broncos and Chiefs. Then they embarked on their road schedule with games at the Minnesota Vikings and the Indianapolis Colts, followed by a ''home'' game in London against the Chicago Bears, a bye week, and then trips to visit the Green Bay Packers and the Houston Texans. During a lengthy absence from home, Oakland won two of its five games to remain in the thick of the AFC playoff race.
After losing three of their last four games, the Lions (3-3-1) also will try to remain in the playoff chase. Detroit was successful in its last outing, defeating the New York Giants at home 31-26.
The all-time series between the Lions and the Raiders is tied at 6-6. The last time the two teams met was in 2015, when the Lions defeated the Raiders 18-13 at Ford Field.
Detroit at Oakland
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 3 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Oakland -2.5
Three Things to Watch
1. The Raiders’ offensive line
One of the strengths of the Raiders this season has been their offensive line, but they will come into this game against the Lions with several injuries along the offensive front, including one of their best players.
Center Rodney Hudson missed practice this week due to an ankle injury. In his place, the Raiders have been using left guard Richie Incognito at center along with Erik Magnuson. That isn’t an ideal situation for the Raiders, but it's one that offensive coordinator Greg Olson appears to be comfortable with if Incognito has to start against the Lions.
"Him having played center and his background, he played center when I was with the St. Louis Rams, a long time ago," Olson said on Thursday. "And he played it very well. He got some work there today. That’s a credit to the people that assemble the team to have so many versatile linemen."
Detroit has only 13 sacks on the season, but the Lions have a talented group up front led by Trey Flowers, who has 26 tackles and three sacks on the season. With Hudson possibly out, the Lions defensive front could be in for a big day.
2. Matthew Stafford
After a down 2018 season, quarterback Matthew Stafford is quietly having a Comeback Player of the Year type of season for the Lions.
In seven games, Stafford has thrown for 2,093 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. However, he could come into Sunday’s game at less than 100 percent. Stafford has been battling an illness, as he reportedly began feeling ill during the Lions’ win over the Giants. Despite his ailment, Stafford has participated in practice this week, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be under center against the Raiders.
Currently, Stafford has started 135 straight games, a streak that trails only the Chargers’ Philip Rivers among active quarterbacks.
3. Josh Jacobs
Jacobs has been one of the best rookies in the 2019 class, and this week he was recognized for his excellence. On Thursday, Jacobs was named the October AFC Offensive Rookie of the Month.
Last month, Jacobs rushed for 313 yards and two touchdowns on 62 carries. He also added eight receptions for 45 yards in three games. In October, Jacobs averaged 104.3 yards on the ground and 5.05 yards per carry.
Currently, Jacobs is on pace to rush for 1,417 yards after rushing for 620 yards during the Raiders' first seven games of the season. He will face a Lions defense that was able to contain Saquon Barkley, one of the best running backs in the NFL. The Lions held Barkley to 64 yards on 19 carries, which was a season-low for him (not counting Barkley’s game against the Bucs, when he sustained an ankle injury).
Detroit’s defense is allowing an average of 130.7 yards per game on the ground. So the Lions will certainly have their hands full with trying to contain Jacobs.
With both the Lions and the Raiders needing wins this weekend, it should make for an excellent game. The key for each defense will likely be who can get more pressure on the opposing quarterback. Neither team has a distinct advantage there, as both defenses have gotten to the quarterback a total of 13 times this year.
Detroit’s pass defense has given up several big plays this season, and that’s where Derek Carr should be able to take advantage if he can get time in the pocket. Also, receiver Tyrell Williams, who returned against the Texans last week, has five touchdowns on the year and could play a big role.
Expect a close game, but the Raiders' home-field crowd could make a slight difference.
Prediction: Raiders 27, Lions 24
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.