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O'HARA: What we learned from Week 8 

The Detroit Lions did what they needed to do and what they absolutely had to do to end any doubt over who is in command of the NFC North.

That's what we learned from the Lions' 26-14 win over the Las Vegas Raiders Monday night at Ford Field.

Among the other things we learned include the following: The Lions succeeded in establishing their identity after the woeful performance in a 38-6 loss to the Ravens the previous week.

We start with the Lions taking over the North.

The numbers say it, and so does the reality of every North contender's situation.

The Lions are in first place in the NFC North with a 6-2 won-loss record. Next closest are the Minnesota Vikings at 4-4, and their chances of making a run at the Lions took a serious hit with the season-ending Achilles injury sustained Sunday by quarterback Kirk Cousins.

The Packers are at 2-5 and the Bears are at 2-6.

That leaves the Lions alone at the top.

Nobody in their locker room is claiming that the race is over, but linebacker Alex Anzalone is a realist in assessing the situation.

"We have to capitalize on where we're at," he said. "We control our own destiny. We always feel that way. We've put ourselves in a very good position.

"But (at the same time) we have to play the Vikings twice, the Bears twice and Green Bay one more time."

Head to head: The other North teams can't count on making up any ground in the race by playing the Lions. Last year the Lions were 5-1 against the North.

Identity check: Head coach Dan Campbell was happy with the way the Lions played.

In nearly every category, the Lions won out on toughness. They had a 222-80 edge over the Raiders in yards rushing.

The Lions had six sacks and nine quarterback hits to one sack and five hits for the Raiders.

View photos from the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Detroit Lions Week 8 game at Ford Field on Monday, Oct. 30 in Detroit, MI.

"I told the team the most important thing about this game was us getting our identity back," Campbell said. "That was what all the work that we put in this week was about. The whole focus was about getting back to what we do.

"That was the most important thing, and that really showed through today. Ultimately, we got what I wanted to get out of it. Our defense played outstanding. Outstanding. You play defense like that, you can beat anybody.

"Man, the guys bounced back."

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