The Detroit Lions look to get back to their winning ways tonight on the national stage of Monday Night Football as they host the Las Vegas Raiders.
Here are five things to watch out for in tonight's interconference matchup.
1. MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
The Lions will host their first Monday night game since the New York Jets came to town to open the 2018 season. The Lions faithful have turned Ford Field into one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. With a chance to see their team start 6-2 heading into the bye next week, I expect Ford Field to be loud tonight.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff is excited to play in his first night game at Ford Field. Can the Lions get off to a fast start and keep the crowd involved all night? If they do it's certainly advantage Detroit.
2. BEST ON BEST
Lions right tackle Penei Sewell and Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby are two of the best in the NFL at their respective positions and the two will see plenty of each other tonight as Crosby plays a majority of his snaps over the right tackle.
"We've got to account for him at all times," Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said Friday of Crosby. "I think coach (Dan) Campbell has already alluded to how big of an impact that guy can have on a game. So, we need to know where he's at. Like you said, majority on the right, but they move him around enough too that we've got to be really sound with what we're doing. I know Penei's really looking forward to the challenge, though."
Sewell is arguably the top right tackle in football and pound for pound Detroit's most athletic player. He hasn't allowed a sack or quarterback hit all season. Crosby leads the NFL in pressures and his 6.5 sacks ranks in the top 10. This will be a fun matchup to watch all game.
3. DEFENSIVE BOUNCEBACK
The entire defensive coaching staff and players on defense watched last week's film together early last week. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn admitted it was a hard watch with a lot to correct after the Ravens racked up over 500 yards and 38 points against Detroit last week.
The Raiders have a much different offense, but they are still very capable of putting up points. Davante Adams is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, running back Josh Jacobs led the league in rushing a year ago and the Raiders have other skill-position weapons that can offer up big performances if the Lions let them.
Las Vegas has really struggled to run the football this season despite having Jacobs. They are averaging just 68.6 yards per contest on the ground, which is last in the NFL. That's where it has to start for Glenn and Detroit's defense tonight. Stop the run and make quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have to throw the ball to beat them. That should allow the Lions' front seven to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback, something they weren't able to do last week.
4. RUN GAME
Detroit had to mostly abandon their offensive game plan last week, which included their run game, after falling behind by 21 points early in the loss to Baltimore. Detroit's offense is at its best when they can run the football, operate their play-action passing game off of it and play complementary ball offensively. Detroit won't have the services of veteran running back David Montgomery, but rookie Jahmyr Gibbs has shown he's more than capable of handling the load coming off his first rushing touchdown last week.
The Raiders' defense is allowing on average 129.0 yards per game on the ground to opponents. The Lions have averaged 125 yards per game with almost a two touchdown per game average on the ground at Ford Field this season. Can they get back to being a multidimensional threat on offense tonight and get back to their high-scoring ways after putting just six points on the board in Baltimore last week?
5. PRIDE OF THE LIONS
The Lions will be welcoming their newest member to the Pride of the Lions as former tackle and current color analyst for the Lions Radio Network, Lomas Brown, will join 19 other all-time greats with his name immortalized at Ford Field.
Brown played 11 seasons for the Lions and ranks second in franchise history in games played (164) and started (163) by a tackle. He made six Pro Bowls, and in 1995 he became the third Lions tackle to be named an All Pro. Brown is one of only 15 players in NFL history to start at least 250 career games.
"The Detroit Lions are proud to induct Lomas Brown into the Pride of the Lions and it couldn't be more deserved," Lions team president Rod Wood said. "Lomas was a fundamental piece of our team success in the 90s and enjoyed a long and greatly successful NFL career. He continues to be a positive presence not only in our organization, but in the greater community as well. He is a bridge to our fans, our Lions Legends, and is as much a part of our history as our future."