Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14

When I sit down and begin typing each article, I set a goal to try and write in a way that makes the reader want to finish the entire piece.  That said, this article was one of the more challenging ones to do so.

Chris Houston will return to the Lions lineup Sunday

The reason wasn’t because this game is not important, because it certainly is.  This weekend marks a must win for both the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders.  Detroit, at 8-5, holds a one game lead in the NFC wild card race while Oakland is one game out of the AFC West lead at 7-6.

Nor was the reason a lack of exciting players since both teams possess significant playmaking ability.  The Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson provide excitement each and every game, while rookie wideout Titus Young has emerged as another key playmaker for Detroit’s offense.

Oakland also has a plethora of talent and speed.  Wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore have big play written all over them, while bruising running back Michael Bush provides power between the tackles.

Ndamukong Suh will make his return to the Lions on Sunday afternoon in Oakland, providing a much needed healthy body on defense.  Suh’s presence will no doubt help the Lions’ pass rush which has struggled without him.

Suh won’t be the only Lion to return to action Sunday, as corner Chris Houston will return from a knee injury as well.  The Lions desperately need to get healthy in the secondary and Houston’s return will help, but hold the phone.  The Lions’ official website lists corner Aaron Berry as doubtful, safety Louis Delmas as questionable, and corner Eric Wright as questionable.

The main reason I struggled to write this article is because of the feeling I have about this game.  I picked the Raiders to win this game three weeks ago, and I’m afraid I have to stick with that pick.  The injuries the Lions have sustained on defense are too much to overcome in my mind, and it showed last week against Minnesota.

With core players missing from practice this week like Delmas, linebacker Justin Durant, defensive end Lawrence Jackson, and Berry, the Lions face an uphill battle this weekend.  The only saving grace for Detroit fans is the fact that the Raiders are a bit banged up as well.  Oakland has lost two straight, and injuries to star running back Darren McFadden and safety Michael Huff have played a part in that.

Both of these teams are fighting for their postseason lives with just three weeks left in the season, so injured or not, expect both sides to battle.

The key for the Lions, after health, will be stopping Oakland’s rushing attack that ranks 6th in the NFL.  If the Lions can stop Bush and the running game effectively, I don’t hate their chances against quarterback Carson Palmer.  Palmer has shown inconsistencies this year, and his receiving corps is fast, but also prone to drop balls.

I’m not telling you to give up on the Lions and bet the house on Oakland this week, but injuries have certainly dimmed the Lions’ hopes.  However, with the offensive talent that the Lions have, anything can happen.

And I hope it does so my next 500 words are easier to write.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Most unexpected MLB free agent signings of past 10 years

Five most villainous Super Bowls of all time

Super Bowl ad focuses on acceptance of gay athletes

Foster says UT boosters paid him $40-50K while in college

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.