Oakland Raiders

NFL Week 15: Oakland Raiders Host Detroit Lions in "Must-Win" Game for Each Team

For the Raiders, the playoffs start this week.
For the Raiders, the playoffs start this week.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Craig HortonCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2011

While most of the country will be focused on the Tim Tebow-Tom Brady matchup this week in the 4:00 P.M. time-slot, a game that is essentially an inter-conference playoff game will take place in Oakland.

The Oakland Raiders will host the Detroit Lions in a game critical to the playoff chances of both teams. The loser is likely to miss the postseason.

Detroit Lions

Building upon a four-game winning streak to end last season, the Detroit Lions started hot in 2011 by opening with a 5-0 record. They had big comebacks against Minnesota and Dallas, and showed the nation they were for real by beating the Bears 24-13 on Monday Night Football.

Since then, they are 3-5 and have gone from a solid contender, to barely hanging onto the NFC's No. 6 seed. Besides beating Denver in Tim Tebow's second start, they have done poorly against playoff contenders. They have lost to San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay and New Orleans.

With Atlanta currently a solid No. 5 in the NFC, Detroit must win to keep ahead of the Bears, Cowboys and/or the Giants.

Oakland Raiders

The Lions must win to hold onto the NFC's No. 6 seed.
The Lions must win to hold onto the NFC's No. 6 seed.Leon Halip/Getty Images

The 2011 NFL season has been a roller-coaster ride for the Oakland Raiders. A pick to contend in the AFC West, they didn't disappoint early in the season, posting a 4-2 record, including wins over the Jets and Texans.

They have played through injuries to QB Jason Campbell, running back Darren McFadden hasn't played since October, and owner Al Davis passed away October 8. They have lost blowouts on the road the last two weeks, and now Denver leads the AFC West by one game.

The situation is now so desperate that Oakland must win, and hope that Denver, the Jets, Tennessee and Cincinnati lose.

With Christmas a week away, there is no greater gift than a win to keep playoff dreams alive.

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