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Raiders face Lions in 2011 Penalty Bowl

If you like the color yellow, you’re going to love the Raiders-Lions game on Sunday.

The Raiders are the most penalized team in the NFL. Detroit is fourth. Those little yellow hankies will be flying in Oakland.

The Raiders have been penalized a mind-boggling 130 times for 1,116 yards. They led the league with 147 last season. The all-time high, or low, is 158 by the 1998 Chiefs. The Raiders need just 12 penalties in three whole games to claim this most dubious of records.

Meanwhile, the Lions have reached double digits in penalties three straight weeks. Not something to be proud of. DT Ndamukong Suh, the leader of their defense, returns after serving a two-game suspension for stomping on the head of a Packers offensive lineman on Thanksgiving.

Penalties show a lack of discipline. The players might commit the infraction, but penalties reflect on the coaches and their poor job of preparing players.

Raiders coach Hue Jackson is fully aware of the problem plaguing his team. Following the Raiders victory over the Chicago Bears in November, Jackson mentioned that penalties were on the minds of his players:

“I think out guys recognize that it’s something that’s hurt us and we have to play with more focus and intelligence when it comes to doing things that cost us.”

Jackson told CBS that he’s working on fixing the problem, but “there is no magical stuff that I can throw on this team and say ‘no more penalties.’ That’s not how it works.”

After the Lions’ Week 13 loss to the Saints, which included three after-the-whistle 15-yard penalties, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz told the media: “We beat ourselves today. Our offense continued to get derailed by penalties.”

If both teams could cut down on their miscues, they might be comfortably in the post-season, not fighting for their playoff lives. The reality is, both teams make too many stupid mistakes to be considered elite NFL teams.

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