Both the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders made coaching changes, but only the Silver and Black produced a genuine blast from the past. Can either of these teams who aren't all that far away, take the steps that are needed to make their way back to the playoffs? That is the question as they get together on Thursday night. 

Matt Patricia, who had been the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator for the last six seasons, was hired by the Lions, as management was not altogether confident going forward any longer with Jim Caldwell. Of course, the defense in the Motor City needs work, but one of Patricia's principal orders of business will be to re-establish the running game, which had disappeared. 


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The biggest news in the Bay Area was the return of Jon Gruden to coach the Raiders, who are planning the 2020 move to Las Vegas. Gruden has stayed close to the game as a commentator for ESPN, but there is little doubt that he will be experiencing a few speed bumps as he brings himself back into a business that has changed since he last prowled the sidelines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The rumor was that Gruden was set to come back to the Bucs, but Oakland owner Mark Davis (son of Al) came with a lucrative ten-year offer. 

So Gruden is at it again, and in front of Raider Nation in the pre-season opener at the Coliseum. 

 

TV: 10:30 PM ET, NFL Network. LINE: Raiders -3.  O/U: 36

 

ABOUT THE LIONS: Detroit (9-7 straight-up, 8-7-1 against the spread last year) proved it was serious about the ground attack in the off-season by signing LeGarrette Blount, a guy with plenty of playoff experience, as a free agent and drafting Auburn's Kerryon Johnson in the second round. They are also doing a great deal of re-tooling along the offensive line, with rookie first-round pick Frank Ragnow the likely starter at left guard. The idea with all of this is that they can take the pressure off quarterback Matthew Stafford if they can run the ball with some authority. Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who was kept on the staff by Patricia and has a great rapport with Stafford, talked a lot about the run game a year ago, so now we'll see if this finally happens. Darius Slay is the firmly entrenched starter at one corner position, but Patricia feels as if he will let individual situations dictate who is used at the other corner spot at any given time. And as a result, the team may wind up keeping more defensive backs than usual. Ezekiel Ansah. the team's best pass rusher, who had knee surgery in the off-season, started camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list but has now been activated and will travel with the team to Oakland. The Lions are currently priced at +500 to win the NFC North and +3500 to capture the Super Bowl title. 



ABOUT THE RAIDERS: Oakland made the playoffs two years ago but limped into the post-season when Derek Carr got hurt, and they went quietly against Houston. Last season they were 6-10 straight-up and 4-9-3 ATS. Carr is a priority for Gruden, a former college quarterback who has his own particular motivational methods. You're going to see some new receivers this season; Martavis Bryant (who calls Gruden a "mastermind")  has moved over from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Jordy Nelson, who had thrived for years in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, will essentially fill the void left by Michael Crabtree's departure. If you were following that story, you know that Rodgers was not at all happy to see Nelson go. So Amari Cooper may have better people to compliment him in this West Coast-style attack. Giorgio Tavecchio, who made 76% of his field goal attempts last season, was cut, and rookie Eddy Pineiro, who was not drafted, is considered the favorite to win the job. Marshawn Lynch has caught the favor of Gruden very early. “I love him. I love being around him,” the head coach says about the veteran back who came out of retirement last season and ran for 3.7 yards per carry. Connor Cook, who started the Raiders' playoff game a couple of years ago, and former Buffalo first-rounder EJ Manuel are the other quarterbacks listed on the depth chart. Oakland is priced at +250 to win the AFC West title, and +2800 to win Super Bowl 53. 

 

EXTRA POINTS 

 

1. When Jon Gruden was previously a head coach, he was a 65% (30-16) straight-up proposition in the pre-season. 

2. Matt Cassel, who has 81 career starts under his belt and has been with seven different teams, is one of the quarterbacks who will see action for Detroit. His relationship with Patricia goes back to their days with the New England Patriots (2005-08). 

3. The Raiders have allowed fewer sacks over the last two seasons than any other team in the NFL (42). Over that period, the Lions have yielded twice as many (84). 

 

 

PREDICTION: Raiders 21, Lions 14

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Team Name

Starter
Taylor Decker Position: Left Tackle (LT)
Luke Willson Position: Tight End (TE)
A'Shawn Robinson Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Sylvester Williams Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Kenny Golladay Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Marvin Jones Jr. Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Golden Tate Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Quandre Diggs Position: Strong Safety (SS)
Tavon Wilson Position: Strong Safety (SS)
Darius Slay Position: Cornerback (CB)
Deshawn Shead Position: Cornerback (CB)
Matt Cassel Position: Quarterback (QB)
LeGarrette Blount Position: Runningback (RB)
Jarrad Davis Position: Middle Linebacker (MLB)
Glover Quin Position: Free Safety (FS)
Anthony Zettel Position: Defensive End (DE)
Joe Dahl Position: Right Guard (RG)
Rick Wagner Position: Right Tackle (RT)
Frank Ragnow Position: Left Guard (LG)
Graham Glasgow Position: Center (C)
Devon Kennard Position: Outside Linebacker (OLB)
Chris Jones Position: Outside Linebacker (OLB)
Substitution
Steve Longa Position: Linebacker (LB)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Position: Linebacker (LB)
Jonathan Freeny Position: Linebacker (LB)
Trevor Bates Position: Linebacker (LB)
Freddie Bishop Position: Linebacker (LB)
Darnell Sankey Position: Linebacker (LB)
Michael Roberts Position: Tight End (TE)
Hakeem Valles Position: Tight End (TE)
Levine Toilolo Position: Tight End (TE)
Marcus Lucas Position: Tight End (TE)
Sean McGrath Position: Tight End (TE)
Toby Johnson Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Jeremiah Ledbetter Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Christian Ringo Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Josh Fatu Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
JoJo Wicker Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Jace Billingsley Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Dontez Ford Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
TJ Jones Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Bradley Marquez Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Brandon Powell Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Teo Redding Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Chris Lacy Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Brian Brown Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Brian Mihalik Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Corey Robinson Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Kenny Wiggins Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Tyrell Crosby Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Jamar McGloster Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Teez Tabor Position: Cornerback (CB)
Christian Jones Position: Cornerback (CB)
Antwuan Davis Position: Cornerback (CB)
Mike Ford Position: Cornerback (CB)
Josh Okonye Position: Cornerback (CB)
Matt Prater Position: Kicker (K)
Jake Rudock Position: Quarterback (QB)
Don Muhlbach Position: Long Snapper (LS)
Ameer Abdullah Position: Runningback (RB)
Zach Zenner Position: Runningback (RB)
Kerryon Johnson Position: Runningback (RB)
Alex Barrett Position: Defensive End (DE)
Jeremiah Valoaga Position: Defensive End (DE)
Cornelius Washington Position: Defensive End (DE)
Da'Shawn Hand Position: Defensive End (DE)
Nick Bellore Position: Fullback (FB)
Sam Martin Position: Punter (P)
Ryan Santoso Position: Punter (P)
Miles Killebrew Position: Safety (S)
Rolan Milligan Position: Safety (S)
Charles Washington Position: Safety (S)
Leo Koloamatangi Position: Center (C)
Wesley Johnson Position: Center (C)
Dan Skipper Position: Guard (G)
John Montelus Position: Guard (G)
Jamal Agnew Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Kerry Hyder Jr. Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Tracy Walker Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Did not play
Chad Meredith Position: Linebacker (LB)
Andy Jones Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Matthew Stafford Position: Quarterback (QB)
Theo Riddick Position: Runningback (RB)
Dwayne Washington Position: Runningback (RB)
Ezekiel Ansah Position: Defensive End (DE)
Cam Johnson Position: Defensive End (DE)
Stefan McClure Position: Safety (S)
Ricky Jean Francois Position: Nose Tackle (NT)
T.J. Lang Position: Guard (G)
Nevin Lawson Position: Defensive Back (DB)

Team Name

Starter
Kolton Miller Position: Left Tackle (LT)
Jared Cook Position: Tight End (TE)
Lee Smith Position: Tight End (TE)
Mario Edwards Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Justin Ellis Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Amari Cooper Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Jordy Nelson Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Rashaan Melvin Position: Cornerback (CB)
Leon Hall Position: Cornerback (CB)
Daryl Worley Position: Cornerback (CB)
Derek Carr Position: Quarterback (QB)
Marshawn Lynch Position: Runningback (RB)
Derrick Johnson Position: Middle Linebacker (MLB)
Bruce Irvin Position: Defensive End (DE)
Tank Carradine Position: Defensive End (DE)
Gabe Jackson Position: Right Guard (RG)
Karl Joseph Position: Safety (S)
Reggie Nelson Position: Safety (S)
Ian Silberman Position: Right Tackle (RT)
Kelechi Osemele Position: Left Guard (LG)
Rodney Hudson Position: Center (C)
Tahir Whitehead Position: Weak Linebacker (WLB)
Substitution
Shilique Calhoun Position: Linebacker (LB)
Marquel Lee Position: Linebacker (LB)
Kyle Wilber Position: Linebacker (LB)
Emmanuel Lamur Position: Linebacker (LB)
Azeem Victor Position: Linebacker (LB)
Jason Cabinda Position: Linebacker (LB)
Pharaoh Brown Position: Tight End (TE)
Derek Carrier Position: Tight End (TE)
Marcus Baugh Position: Tight End (TE)
Paul Butler Position: Tight End (TE)
Treyvon Hester Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Shakir Soto Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
P.J. Hall Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Maurice Hurst Jr. Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Keon Hatcher Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Johnny Holton Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Isaac Whitney Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Martavis Bryant Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Marcell Ateman Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Ryan Switzer Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Saeed Blacknall Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
David Sharpe Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Jylan Ware Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Oday Aboushi Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Raysean Pringle Position: Cornerback (CB)
Eddy Pineiro Position: Kicker (K)
Connor Cook Position: Quarterback (QB)
EJ Manuel Position: Quarterback (QB)
Andrew DePaola Position: Long Snapper (LS)
Jalen Richard Position: Runningback (RB)
DeAndre Washington Position: Runningback (RB)
Griff Whalen Position: Runningback (RB)
Doug Martin Position: Runningback (RB)
Chris Warren III Position: Runningback (RB)
James Butler Position: Runningback (RB)
Fadol Brown Position: Defensive End (DE)
James Cowser Position: Defensive End (DE)
Frostee Rucker Position: Defensive End (DE)
Ryan Yurachek Position: Fullback (FB)
Johnny Townsend Position: Punter (P)
Erik Harris Position: Safety (S)
Quincy Mauger Position: Safety (S)
Jon Feliciano Position: Guard (G)
Denver Kirkland Position: Guard (G)
James Stone Position: Guard (G)
Cameron Hunt Position: Guard (G)
Antonio Hamilton Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Shalom Luani Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Dexter McDonald Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Tevin Mitchel Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Shareece Wright Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Nick Nelson Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Dallin Leavitt Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Nicholas Morrow Position: Inside Linebacker (ILB)
Did not play
Keith Smith Position: Linebacker (LB)
Eddie Vanderdoes Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Seth Roberts Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Dwayne Harris Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Donald Penn Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Breno Giacomini Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Brandon Parker Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Mike Nugent Position: Kicker (K)
Arden Key Position: Defensive End (DE)
Ahtyba Rubin Position: Nose Tackle (NT)
Jordan Simmons Position: Guard (G)
Gareon Conley Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Obi Melifonwu Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Marcus Gilchrist Position: Defensive Back (DB)

POINT SPREAD Odds 1:51am

278
277
(+3.5) -110
(-3.5) -110

OVER UNDER Odds 1:51am

278
277
O
U
(+37.5) -110
-110

MONEY LINE Odds 1:55am

278
277
+155
-175

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