Nine games into the current 2015-2016 and the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions are both looking ahead to next year. The Raiders, a team that plays in the West Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) still harbor hopes of reaching the playoffs, but after losing this past Sunday, this squad may be engaging in “wishful thinking.”
The Detroit Lions of the North Division in the National Football Conference (NFC) find themselves even farther away from postseason play than their opponents this Sunday. Detroit, despite its roster of highly skilled players that include Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, has a Won-Loss record of 2-7. Its season, to date, has been very disappointing.
The Raiders, on the other hand, have been one of the big surprises in the National Football League (NFL) this season, at least prior to last weekend. But Oakland lost an important game just two days ago and now finds itself with a Won-Loss record of 4-5. It is three games behind the first place Denver Broncos, a fact that makes winning the division a long shot. Worse yet, the Raiders, while still in the hunt for one of two Wild Cards available to AFC teams, will have to leapfrog over several squads to “punch its ticket” to the playoffs.
So it seems that both the visitors from northern California and the home team from Michigan have little on the line when their game begins at 1 PM this Sunday. But, in truth, Oakland can still earn an invitation to keep playing in January. It won’t be easy to accomplish, but it remains a possibility. That knowledge should provide this young squad with a potent offense the necessary motivation and determination to “play all out” when it lines up against the home team Lions.
For its part, Detroit is a team that was expected to compete for divisional honors this season. It has obviously performed poorly and, at this point, has little left to play for but professional pride. Of course, the athletes on this squad know that coaches and front office management will be engaging in player evaluation for the remainder of this “lost season.”
Jobs are at stake in “the motor city.” That should be enough to get this team to play at a very high level. Add to that the fact that the Lions pulled off a major upset a few days ago when they shocked the heavily-favored Green Bay Packers “on the road” and it seems likely that Detroit will present the visiting Raiders with a challenge they may not be able to meet.
Oakland, a team that can “light up the scoreboard” and Detroit, a squad that can “get to the opposing quarterback” should make Sunday’s game competitive, hard-fought and exciting.
Oakland’s young franchise quarterback, Derek Carr, has been “on fire” recently. It remains to be seen if the Detroit Lions can play as effectively on defense this Sunday as they did when they toppled Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers a few days ago.
Courtesy of Ultimodown.com