Detroit Lions vs. Oakland Raiders Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Detroit Lions (8-5 SU, 6-6-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (7-5 SU, 8-5 ATS), 4:05 p.m. EST, NFL Week 15, Sunday, December 18, 2011, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California, TV: Fox
by Scotty L, Pro Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Det -1/Oak +1
Over/Under Total: 47

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The Detroit Lions make the trip to west for a Sunday afternoon faceoff with the Oakland Raiders in a key game for each team. Playoff implications are abound. Detroit is looking for a wildcard spot and at 8-5 they have little room for error, facing a surging San Diego and Green Bay to close out their season. Oakland, unlike Detroit, still has a shot to win their division, but is also in a spot where they cannot absorb losses if they want to get to the postseason.

Coming off two straight losses on the road, the Raiders are now at home. With San Diego closing the gap and the Broncos on a good run, the sense of urgency is surely heightened for this game. Denver is facing the Patriots this week and the Raiders could really further their cause with a win. Losing on the road to an improved Miami and Green Bay isnt cause for total panic and they should be able to regain their poise. Giving up 80 points in their last two games, however, could spell problems for a Raiders D that will be facing the 4th highest-scoring offense in the NFL on Sunday.

Mid-season acquisition Carson Palmer has shown flashes of being able to move the ball, but has been inconsistent, still struggling to get on the same page with a receiving crew that has been erratic. The loss of star RB Darren McFadden has started to resonate, despite the standout play of Michael Bush in his absence. In the last 3 games, Bush has run for 165 yards on 57 carries, far off the form he showed when perhaps a little fresher.


Detroit has not been great against the un this year and Oakland is 6th in that category, suggesting a decent matchup. Then again, the 5 teams that lead Oakland in rushing offense are a combined 29-38, making one wonder how important that is at the end of the day. And despite being cross-country on a different surface, Detroits offense can be a handful.

Oaklands spirits on defense might be down after getting ravaged against Green Bay in a 31-point first half en route to a 46-16 loss, especially on the heels of giving up 34 to Miami–their second-highest output in 13 games. Now theyre facing a Lions offense that appeared to get their legs back under them on Sunday with 34 points against Minnesota following a pair of consecutive losses.

Detroit scored 31 points in the first half against the Vikings, hanging on to win 34-28. Their two losses preceding that win had people soured on Detroit a bit, as they appeared to lose most of the energy that propelled them to a 5-0 start. Then again, losing to the unbeaten Packers on Thanksgiving and the peaking Saints on the road are not bad losses. And while they didnt finish well, their first half against Minnesota showed that the things that excited some people about Detroit are still alive.

With a mediocre run game, the Lions depend heavily on QB Matt Stafford. After throwing only 4 interceptions in the first 8 games, he has thrown 10 picks in the last 5 weeks. That is one of the byproducts of a high-flying offense, but its putting pressure on the defense and killing drives. Their win at Minnesota was only their 3rd win in 8 games. WIth 3 games left, can they recapture some of their early-season form?

Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Returning home for the first time in 3 weeks and only the second game in 6 weeks will give Oakland a burst of energy. The fans should be extra-juiced with a late-season NFL game with playoff implications coming to the Coliseum for the first time in ages. With such a tight spread in a well-matched game between teams with comparable levels of urgency, Oakland will prevail in the end. Take the Raiders to cover!

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