2014 NFL Preseason Preview: Detroit Lions vs. Oakland Raiders
On Friday, the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders will square off at the O.co Coliseum in each team’s second preseason game. After lackluster performances by both teams in their preseason debuts, both the Lions and the Raiders will be looking to turn in a better performance heading into the all-important third preseason game.
Playing with mostly backups, the Lions struggled on offense all night against a solid Cleveland Browns defense. After the first-team offense scored an opening drive field goal, the backups managed to put up just 10 points in over three quarters with the final seven coming on a game-winning touchdown pass from Kellen Moore to Corey Fuller.
The Lions managed to pick up the win 13-12, but looked sloppy all night as they fumbled the ball three times and committed two turnovers.
For the Raiders, their performance was even worse against the Minnesota Vikings. The offense registered just six points against the Vikings’ 32nd-ranked defense from a season ago and actually had more penalty yards (94) than rushing yards (86). Also playing primarily with backups, the Raiders committed 13 penalties, including a false start by Menelik Watson on their first offensive play of the game.
This season is absolutely crucial for the Raiders as recent rumors about relocation have been bubbling throughout the past few weeks. The year of 2014 is also crucial for head coach Dennis Allen, who is entering his third season with the Raiders. Allen and the Raiders have been nowhere near the playoff chase and are currently stuck in an 11-year playoff drought.
This offseason, the Raiders were aggressive in signing veteran players like Justin Tuck, Maurice Jones-Drew and LaMarr Woodley, with the hopes that these players can turn around the team’s culture of losing.
Detroit is looking to erase the pain of last year’s 7-9 season. After starting 6-3, Detroit collapsed down the stretch, losing their final four games of the regular season. The Lions fired Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff and replaced them with former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and a whole new staff.
As far as the game is concerned, two top-10 picks from this year’s draft will clash as Oakland linebacker Khalil Mack (No. 5 overall) will matchup right across from Detroit tight end Eric Ebron (No. 10 overall). This matchup will be a great test for both teams as the Lions’ offensive line faces a Raiders’ defense that recorded six sacks against the Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Raiders’ newly-formed secondary takes on an explosive passing attack, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.
Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. He also adds to the site’s NBA, NCAA Football, and NFL content. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.