Raiders vs. Lions: Breaking Down Oakland’s 31-20 Win

The new era of the Oakland Raiders got off to a slow start this preseason. The Raiders dropped their first two preseason games and looked like a team in the midst of a major transition. That all changed in the third preseason game—often considered a regular season tune-up.

The Raiders offense and defense looked competent with explosive possibilities in a 31-20 win over the visiting Detroit Lions.

Particularly important was the play of Oakland's defense because it was the defense that cost the team games last year. You can point to games against Buffalo, Detroit and San Diego last year and easily proportion the blame on an undisciplined defense that was using antiquated schemes.

This year, the schemes are different and there has also been a change at cornerback and linebacker. As demonstrated by the third preseason game, things are progressing positively for the revamped defense. 

Even without Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore, the Raiders offense was able to move the ball against the Lions. Darren McFadden continues to be the key to offensive success, and the Raiders have developed and added a few contributors like Owen Schmitt and rookie Rod Streater.

Carson Palmer has emerged as the biggest question mark on offense because of inconsistency. Palmer will make an amazing throw on one play and come back and make a bad decision. If the Raiders have legitimate playoff hopes, Palmer has to avoid many of the mistakes he has made this preseason.

It's easier to make a better decision if you have a complete understanding of the offense and defense. The Raiders and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will just continue to coach Palmer on how the offensive scheme is designed to beat certain defensive schemes. There's really not much else you can do.

A big story line from the game was the emergence of Terrelle Pryor. Pryor fin...

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