The Silver and Black are BACK…. at home.
After a road trip that seemingly never ended, the Oakland Raiders are now finally poised to play their first, true home game since mid-September, and there’s no doubt that the team’s excited for a little home cookin’.
That said, the Detroit Lions and their Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford will present quite the challenge to Head Coach Jon Gruden’s team; with action set to begin at 1:05 PM, here are six things you need to watch once the game gets underway.
1. The man in the middle
We have been royalty spoiled since Rodney Hudson joined the Raiders in 2014.
Not only has Hudson been one of the best centers in the game during his tenure in Silver and Black, but he’s been the epitome of consistency, missing just three games since he joined the team in 2015.
That said, his status for Sunday’s game against the Lions is up in the air as Hudson deals with an ankle injury, as is the status of his primary backup Andre James.
If neither Hudson nor James are able to get to work against the Lions Sunday afternoon, one would think that Richie Incognito – yes, left guard Richie Incognito – would get the nod in the middle of the offensive line.
The offensive line has unquestionably been the backbone of the Raiders in 2019, even considering they’ve dealt with a revolving door of starting lineups each week.
We’ll have to wait and see who trots out for the first offensive snap of the day come Sunday, and if Hudson or James aren’t there, you better believe all eyes will be on the center position.
2. Back to 100-yard territory for Josh Jacobs?
While the Raiders’ offensive line has been absolutely stellar in pass protection, they’ve also done a heck of a job in getting Josh Jacobs and the Silver and Black’s rushing attack rolling as well.
Jacobs – who’s now the reigning AFC Offensive Rookie of the Month – still averaged north of 4.0 yards per carry last week in Houston, but didn’t hit the century mark for the first time since Week 4, but I’m curious to see what type of damage he does against a Detroit defense that’s surrendering 130.1 rushing yards per game.
Even though Jacobs has just seven NFL games under his belt so far, he’s become one of the Raiders’ best playmakers, and when he and the rest of the team’s running backs get cooking, it opens things up for Derek Carr and the aerial attack.
Will Josh go over 100 once again on Sunday? We’ll just have to wait and find out – that said, I like his chances.
3. Can the Raiders limit Matthew Stafford?
The Lions’ record might not be overly impressive, but make no mistake, Matthew Stafford has been on one in 2019.
His 16 passing touchdowns are tied for second in the NFL, and with just four interceptions thrown, the veteran quarterback has been smart with the football as well.
Kenny Golladay has really come on the past couple of weeks out wide for the Detroit offense, but even without the deepest receiving corps in the NFL, Stafford has been a stud week in and week out.
Last week, Paul Guenther’s defense had its collective hands full with Deshaun Watson, and while Watson and Stafford attack the game in different ways, I’m excited to see the Silver and Black’s defense try to make life difficult for the Lions’ franchise quarterback.
4. The quietest, touchdown streak in the entire NFL
I say this with just a bit of hyperbole, but seriously, doesn’t it feel like no one is talking about the fact that Tyrell Williams has scored a touchdown in every game that he’s played in 2019?
Now, I know that No. 16 missed a pair of games as he dealt with some lingering foot issues, but it’s wild to me that the athletic wide receiver has found the end zone in every, single game that he’s worn a Raiders uniform, and it somehow seems to be flying under the radar.
Regardless, Detroit ranks dead last in stopping teams’ aerial attack, so I figure that Williams will no doubt get his chances to make plays Sunday afternoon at the OACC.
The streak currently sits at five for Tyrell; let’s see if we can get to six.
5. What does Brandon Marshall bring to the table?
Brandon Marshall will make his debut as a Raider this Sunday, albeit it a few months after he initially thought he would.
After signing with the Silver and Black in March, Marshall was released in late-August, but as a result of the decimation to the Raiders’ linebacking corps, No. 54 was signed back to the roster earlier this week.
While we won’t truly know exactly what will be asked of Marshall on Sunday, until, well, Sunday, with just five linebackers currently listed on the roster – and that includes Marshall as well as the recently signed Will Compton – conventional wisdom would suggest that the veteran linebacker will play a significant role against the Lions.
Marshall has 74 games under his belt, so there won’t be much that he’ll see Sunday that will throw him for a loop, but regardless, I’m curious to see just how much he plays against the Texans.
6. Time to eat that home cookin’
The last time the Raiders played at home – sorry London, you don’t count as a real home game – was all the way back in Week 2.
It might be hard to remember all the way back to mid-September, but believe it or not, that’s the last time the Raiders lined up and played meaningful football at the OACC.
While we love seeing all of you guys on the road each week, there’s really no place like home, and I cannot wait to see the type of energy Raider Nation brings Sunday afternoon.
You’ve waited months (literally) for the team to return home, so make sure you ensure things aren’t easy for the Lions from whistle to whistle.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 PM; let’s go.
As the Silver and Black prepare for their Week 9 matchup with the Detroit Lions, take a look back at their past matchups through the years. Historical content is presented by Tequila Corralejo.