Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Tennessee Titans

2 of 8

Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Feed Murray Early And Often

Oakland’s offensive power outage has coincided with a drop in a run game headlined by Latavius Murray. In weeks seven through nine, Murray ran for 85, 113, and 96 yards respectively. Oakland went 2-1 over that stretch, but in their loss to Pittsburgh, they still managed to put up 35 points.

In week ten, Murray ran for 48 yards against the Vikings – and an average of 4.0 yards per carry. And in week eleven, against the Lions, Murray ran for an anemic 28 yards and a woeful average of 2.15 yards per carry.

More from Derek Carr

It doesn’t seem much of a surprise then, that as the Raiders have struggled to establish the run, the offense as a whole has struggled to find the endzone, scoring 14 points against Minnesota and 13 against Detroit.

The Titans are giving up 110 yards a game on the ground, which ranks them seventeenth in the league. They’re not terrible against the run but they’re not the best, either. They are a defense that Oakland should be able to gain some traction on. But they are going to need to feed Murray early and often.

The wrinkle of course, is that Oakland may well be without center Rodney Hudson for another week as he nurses an ankle injury. That means Tony Bergstrom may be starting in his place again. And Bergstrom is most definitely not the blocker that Hudson is.

It will be incumbent upon OC Bill Musgrave to formulate a game plan that includes plenty of runs to the edges – a strategy that will get a boost with the return of Lee Smith, who is hands down, Oakland’s best blocking tight end. It’s also a strategy that has paid big dividends for the Raiders in weeks past. Murray has the speed to get to the edge and the power to turn the corner, break some tackles, and gain some positive yards.

To have some offensive success against the Titans and loosen up that third ranked passing defense, the Raiders are going to need Murray to get on track and get back to the form that had allowed him to lead the AFC in rushing yards.

Next: Resist Temptation to Overcorrect