ALAMEDA, Calif. — After going six weeks without a game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, the Raiders will be back in familiar territory Sunday when they play the Detroit Lions.
Detroit (3-3-1) ended a three-game losing streak by defeating the Giants last week. The Raiders (3-4) will try to stop a two-game slide after road losses to the Packers and Texans.
The Raiders will have a quick turnaround after Sunday’s game, as they host the Los Angeles Chargers on “Thursday Night Football.”
Here are three things to look for in Sunday’s game:
1. Who starts at center?
The Raiders have started five combinations of offensive linemen and might start a sixth Sunday. Starter Rodney Hudson and backup Andre James are questionable with ankle injuries.
They practiced in a limited capacity Friday. And offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Thursday that he wasn’t concerned about their availability for the game. But Friday, coach Jon Gruden said the team has to be smart given that both players are still experiencing pain and will be going against former All-Pro Damon “Snacks” Harrison at defensive tackle.
If Hudson and James are unavailable, the Raiders probably would go with starting left guard Richie Incognito at center. He has played the position, but not since 2010, and that could impact everything on the offense.
2. Who wins the turnover battle?
The Raiders and Lions have struggled against the pass. Detroit is No. 32 in pass defense and No. 31 in total defense. The Raiders are 25th in total defense and 30th against the pass.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said the stats are deceiving and he perceives the Lions’ defense as being strong. But the numbers strongly suggest that both teams should pass often.
That means takeaways will have an added importance. The Lions are tied at No. 9 with 12 takeaways — three interceptions and nine recovered fumbles. The Raiders are 30th with five takeaways — three interceptions and two recovered fumbles. Only Atlanta (four) and Miami (three) have fewer takeaways.
In the Raiders’ last two wins, over the Colts and Bears, they forced two takeaways in each game. They might need similar numbers to defeat the Lions.
3. Will there be a home-field advantage?
Barring anything unforeseen, the Raiders have five games left at the coliseum before moving to Las Vegas. With this being the first game there since Sept. 15, Carr said the Raiders and their fans “need to see each other — that’s for sure.”
One other aspect that might work in the Raiders’ favor is that Detroit is traveling east to west. Under coach Matt Patricia, the Lions are 1-1-1 traveling west. They lost to the 49ers 30-27 in Week 2 last season, defeated the Cardinals 17-3 in Week 14 last season and tied the Cardinals 27-27 to start this season.
If the travel and time difference lead to a sluggish Lions start, the Raiders could take advantage and play from ahead. Given how the Raiders are built to run the ball, getting an early lead could go a long way in paving the way to victory.
Out: G Graham Glasgow (back), S Tracy Walker (knee).
Doubtful: DT Mike Daniels (foot).
Questionable: DT Damon Harrison (groin, not injury related), CB Amani Oruwariye (knee), DT A’Shawn Robinson (knee), CB Darius Slay (hamstring).
Questionable: DT P.J. Hall (shoulder), WR Dwayne Harris (foot), S Erik Harris (illness), C Rodney Hudson (ankle), T Andre James (ankle), DE Josh Mauro (groin).