With the NFL (pre)season about to start it is time to actually look forward to the season ahead and start thinking about where the Tennessee Titans stand. I will make a season projection after a few preseason games, but in the meantime I think it is interesting to rank the games I see as the easiest (#16) to the hardest (#1).
So with that said, here is a look at this ranking.
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#15: Week 12 vs Oakland Raiders
Everyone pretty much agrees that the four most important positions on a football field are: quarterback, edge rusher, left tackle, and corner back. The theory being that you need to have a quarterback, someone who can get to the quarterback, someone who can protect the quarterback, and someone who can make the quarterback go to his second read.
So with that in mind, let’s look at what they have.
Well, the Oakland Raiders do have Derek Carr at quarterback, who showed a lot of promise in his first year. However, aside from a game against the San Francisco 49ers, he really put up a lot of his good numbers in garbage time when his team was already out of it (they started 0-10 last year). So while he has promise he is far from a proven commodity.
Next they do have an exceptional edge rusher in Khalil Mack. Mack is a nasty run defender, but he hasn’t quite figured out how to finish the play against the pass. Last year Mack had only four sacks and he will have a tough task going against Taylor Lewan.
Now comes the bad part for Raiders fans. Last year Donald Penn allowed 29 quarterback hurries, which was tied for 14th worst in the league last year.
As for cornerbacks, well neither of the Oakland Raiders starting cornerbacks earned a positive grade last season from PFF. Both Travis Carrie and D.J. Hayden were disappointments, but both will be leaned on again this year to guard Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Beckham and Harry Douglas.
History on Tennessee’s side.
From 2013-2015 only two teams in the NFL have been bad enough to have picks in the top five every year. Those two teams are the Jacksonville Jaguars and (you guessed it) the Oakland Raiders.
Again, that is another sign that this roster just isn’t build very well.
One sided offense.
The biggest issue facing the Oakland Raiders in this game is how one-sided their offense will be. The whole season will be resting on the shoulders of Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, which should not inspire confidence.
If the defense can get into the backfield and disrupt the passing game, then the Titans will have to worry about the combination of Trent Richardson, Roy Helu and Latavius Murray.
An argument could be made that those running backs are the worst three-deep collection in the NFL.
If the Tennessee Titans can force the Oakland Raiders to run behind an offensive line with several weak links and no talented running backs, then the Titans could easily hold them to single-digit points.