Raiders vs Titans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

 

New FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Titans – Week 3

Las Vegas Raiders (0-2) | Tennessee Titans (0-2)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Raiders and Titans both look to avoid an 0-3 start as the Silver and Black travel down to Nashville, Tennessee. Can the Raiders’ offense find consistency, and will Chandler Jones provide the help Maxx Crosby needs?

 

Raiders vs Titans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

There’s no need to waste any more time griping about last Sunday’s second-half collapse against Arizona; It’s only Week 3, and all focus should be on the Tennessee Titans. Like the Raiders, Tennessee is searching for their first win of the 2022 season. Sure, 0-2 is less than ideal, but 0-3 is borderline embarrassing–Especially if there’s talent to work with.

Another commonality, the Titans have also squandered a game in the fourth quarter: Week 1 against the New York Giants. Then, in Week 2, they traveled to Buffalo only to get the brakes beat off them on Monday Night Football, 41-7. Since failing to retain A.J. Brown last offseason, things seem to be going disastrously for the Titans. So, for the third straight week, the Raiders will find themselves in a matchup between teams insatiably hungry for their first win.

As old AFL rivals (dating back to the days of the Houston Oilers), the Raiders and Titans franchises have faced off head-to-head 47 times in the regular season since 1960, with the Silver & Black taking the overall upper hand, 26-21 (not including the four of four postseason wins the Raiders hold over them). The most recent meeting occurred in 2019 at the Oakland Coliseum, where Tennessee doubled up the Raiders, 42-21. In that game, Henry ran for 100+ yards, and Tannehill threw for three scores and nearly 400 yards (two touchdowns and 153 yards were from A.J. Brown, who is thankfully now in Philadelphia).

Again, the injury report will be pretty full. As you’ll find near the end of this article, WR Hunter Renfrow has yet to return to action since being designated with a concussion after the blind hit that forced his second fumble last Sunday. Other starters, LB Denzel Perryman and S Tre’von Moehrig have also still been out. On the flip side, two interior starters returned to practice on Thursday: C Andre James and DT Bilal Nichols. Naturally, Tennessee has been missing some critical pieces at practice as well this week, most notably OLB Bud Dupree and LT Taylor Lewan.

Check the 53-man roster before diving into this week’s recap. After all, it’s only Week 3, but Raider Nation is already operating with a sense of urgency; Ya gotta love the NFL!

 

Previous contests

HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)

 

KEYS TO THE GAME:

 

Better 4Q offense

Raiders vs Titans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Through two games (incl. one OT contest), the Raiders have only managed a total of six points after the third quarter while turning the ball over three times (two INT; one fumble lost). However, we have seen Vegas’ offense look extremely productive at earlier portions of the game. Yet, against the Chargers and Cardinals, the Raiders‘ offensive unit was presented with multiple opportunities to seal/steal the game.

We all know the star power this offense possesses. Additionally, Carr has been one of the better 4Q quarterbacks throughout his career, having orchestrated a liberal share of game-winning drives (29 since 2015: The most of any QB over that span). With that said, there clearly needs to be a more direct late-game plan, while the players obviously must execute better. So far, Las Vegas has faced two respectable defenses and held their own. At some point, this offense will explode. They should fare well against another decent unit in Tennessee.

 

Storm King Henry’s castle

There’s no denying “King” Derrick Henry’s greatness as a raw athlete and football player. Standing at 6’3”, 245lb, tackling him is like tackling a real-life superhero. Equipped with the most devastating stiff-arm in the game’s history, he presents a viscously daunting task for any opposing defense. With that said, Henry has had a sluggish start to the 2022 campaign.

Over the first two games of the season (vs. NYG/at BUF), “Tractorcito” has accumulated only 107 yards on 34 carries (3.14 ypc). His last time out, in Buffalo on primetime, he was held to a measly 25 rushing yards. Basically, eliminating Henry as a threat can be done, but it must be a tenacious group effort from the opposing defensive front. 

Looking at the personnel on Las Vegas’ defense, they match up well. Crosby will lead the charge with his relentless motor, and Deablo (who is coming off a monster game of 16 total tackles vs. ARZ) will be there to clean up every pile. Additionally, this Sunday would be a fantastic time for Chandler Jones to make his presence felt. The Raiders could sure use the efforts of Denzel Perryman, but I wouldn’t expect his return to be this week. We shall see, we shall see.

 

Feature Adams, complement with the others

Raiders vs Titans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

If you’re asking me, Adams‘ usage has not yet been finely tuned. Of course, he ate an entire buffet worth of yards against the Chargers, but most of Vegas‘ other pass catchers were relatively quiet. In Week 2, Adams somehow only caught two of his seven targets for 12 yards, while players like Hollins, Waller, and Renfrow had more significant days.

Yes, Adams had in tug in both weeks, but with the game on the line, the offense needs to get 17 the ball more creatively. A receiver of his talents, whether through a flanker screen or motioned jet-sweep, the ball needs to be in his hands when 4Q comes around. Even better, his continued success will open windows for the other playmakers throughout the game. But I would like to see more plays like the one Adams scored on, completing the opening drive against Arizona.

 

Coaching matchup

Against both L.A. and Arizona, I gave the coaching nod to McDaniels. After losing twice, my confidence in him is not shattered yet, but don’t let the Titans’ slow start fool you; Mike Vrabel is a quality NFL coach. Having played 14 seasons in the league as an outside linebacker (1st-team All-Pro in 2007), Vrabel helped the Pats win three of their Super Bowls. Naturally, he and McDaniels will have some familiarity since they were both in critical roles for New England from 2006-2008. Vrabel is also 41-26 overall since taking over as the Titans’ head coach in 2018. With a more established track record, and experience going against a McDaniels’ offense in practice for a few years back in the day, I give a slight edge to Vrabel.

 

INJURY REPORT:

 

Below are Thursday’s (Sept. 22) practice participation sheets for the Raiders and Titans …

Las Vegas – RB Brandon Bolden (Limited – Hamstring), RT Jermaine Eluemunor (Full – Hip), DT Neil Farrell Jr. (DNP – Shoulder), RB Josh Jacobs (DNP – Illness), FB Jakob Johnson (DNP – Hamstring), C Andre James (Limited – Concussion), DE Chandler Jones (DNP – Rest), S Tre’von Moehrig (DNP – Hip), DT Bilal Nichols (Limited – Shoulder), LB Denzel Perryman (DNP – Ankle), WR Hunter Renfrow (DNP – Concussion).

Tennessee – S Ugo Amadi (DNP – Ankle), ILB Zach Cunningham (Limited – Knee), OLB Bud Dupree (DNP – Hip), LT Taylor Lewan (DNP – Knee), OLB Ola Adeniyi (DNP – Neck), WR Treylon Burks (Full – Ankle), CB Kristian Fulton (Limited – Hamstring), RB Dontrell Hilliard (Limited – Hamstring), LB Joe Jones (Limited – Hamstring), WR Kyle Phillips (Limited – Shoulder).

 

WEATHER REPORT:

 

At Nissan Stadium this Sunday, the Las Vegas Raiders will be faced with their first outdoor game of the season. To double down on the elements, Nashville currently shows a 23% chance of rain throughout gameday. With projected wind speeds of 10-15 MPH and a warm forecasted temperature of 85 degrees, it will likely be a slick, muggy game. I cannot stress this enough; Ball security will be paramount. But you know that already…

 

The Raiders will travel to Nashville and prepare for their third game of the 2022 regular season: A conference clash game against the Tennessee Titans, which will take place Sunday, Sept. 25. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 am and can be seen locally on Fox 5 (radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Gabe on Twitter & Instagram at @gps_onthemic

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