Three Things to Watch in Week 3 – Titans vs. Raiders
Tennessee Titans vs. Oakland Raiders
The Tennessee Titans welcome the Oakland Raiders into town this weekend for a rematch of the week 3 preseason game. While the week, venue, and game importance has changed the Titans will hope for similar results.
The Titans will have a lot of work to do this week to keep their winning streak (1 game is a winning streak in Tennessee) alive. The Raiders have one of the top offenses in the league with weapons like Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and their big bruiser Latavius Murray.
First Thing to Watch
Titans Run Game
– through the first two games of the season the Titans have been okay in the running game. The Vikings have one of the best defenses front sevens in the league, while the Lions pushed the Titans around for the first three quarters of the game. DeMarco Murray did show his big-play ability on a nice 67-yard run down the right sideline. However, he only averaged 1.83 YPC on his other 12 touches.
I expect to see a lot more Derrick Henry this week as the Titans continue to increase the rookie’s workload. Henry has run with a ton of power and seems to be making defenders miss with ease. Additionally, both of the Titans running backs have shown an ability to catches passes out of the backfield.
The Raiders run defense has been less than impressive as they currently sit ranked #12th worst in the NFL. Even if the Titans miss their starting RG, Chance Warmack as he decides whether to have surgery or play through his torn tendon in his finger, it may be to their advantage as they finally have depth at the offensive line position. Additionally, Warmack has been worse than terrible through the first two games. I fully expect the Titans to dominate the line of scrimmage this week and finally show the “smash-mouth” portion of Mike Mularkey’s termed “exotic smash-mouth” offense.
Second Thing to Watch
– the Raiders are going to be walking into Nissan stadium with one the best duo WR’s in the NFL with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree… the Titans have to find a better way to defend against them if they want a chance to win. Through the first two games, the Titans rank 14th in total yards given up through the air. While it may seem like they’ve done well this early… they played Shaun Hill for the Vikings and the Lions WR’s had 6 drops that I counted. Perrish Cox made the big play when it mattered most last week, but the Titans are going to need a lot more from the 6th year pro.The nickel back position is the position that could get exploited this week when Derek Carr steps under center. Carr has been one of the most underrated QB’s in the NFL through his first two seasons. The Raiders do a good job of disguising where both Crabtree and Cooper lineup on the field. I fully expect them to try and get the mismatch with Brice McCain.