Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Tennessee Titans

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Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) tackles Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. The Lions won 18-13. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Run Defense Must Stand Up

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Raiders had one of the top run defenses in the league. They were stuffing everybody and not giving up many yards on the ground.

Their fall from the top to the bottom has been as swift as it has been shocking.

In consecutive weeks, Pittsburgh’s DeAngelo Williams and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson absolutely gashed the Raiders’ vaunted run defense for 170 yards and 203 yards respectively. Their run defense ranking dropped from second, all the way down to twenty-fourth, where they currently reside.

They did better against Detroit, limiting Ameer Abdullah to 44 yards on 12 carries – though Stafford did rip them for 31 yards on just six carries, including an 18 yard touchdown run. It isn’t much of a victory though, given the fact that Detroit has no running game to speak of, averaging just 75 yards a game – which puts them dead last in the league. But still, it could be something the Raiders can build on.

While not as bad as Detroit, the Titans are still averaging less than 100 yards per game on the ground. Antonio Andrews is Tennessee’s top rusher, with just 376 yards on 99 carries for an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Oakland may be catching a break in that Dexter McCluster – a back who’s given them fits over the years as a member of the Chiefs – is listed as doubtful for the game with a knee injury.

While the Raiders did a good job in limiting Abdullah’s overall effectiveness last week, they failed to make the stops when they counted the most. Detroit was able to pick up critical first downs on the ground and keep drives alive.

The Raiders will have to do a much better job of not just limiting Tennessee’s overall effectiveness on the ground, but to be able to make the stops when they need them most.

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