Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Tennessee Titans

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Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Just Win, Baby

It’s been a back and forth, up and down season for the Raiders. They’ve had good moments. And they have bad moments. But one thing is for certain, this team is absolutely trending in the right direction.

The one thing they absolutely, positively must learn though, is how to win. How to put opponents away. And how to rise up on the biggest of occasions.

Over the last three weeks, they had three very winnable games – and lost them all. Against the Steelers, they battled back to tie the game – despite allowing Antonio Brown to run wild all day long – but it was a late defensive collapse that allowed the Steelers to escape with a win.

Against the Vikings, they came out flat, didn’t make the plays when they needed to. They did a good job of limiting Teddy Bridgewater‘s effectiveness, but they allowed Adrian Peterson to beat them – sealing the game with a fourth quarter 80 yard touchdown run.

And against the Lions, the Raiders came out flat once again. And even though the play calling was incredibly suspect, they still did not execute. Even though they should have had the Lions outmatched and outgunned, Detroit came out with a fire and intensity that Oakland simply couldn’t match.

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If Oakland truly wants to make that leap forward and get themselves back into playoff contention – or at least give them a solid foundation to build upon for next season – they are going to need to learn that they can’t take a play off, a series off, or a quarter off. They are going to need to have those fires inside of them burning bright from the opening snap and keep them stoked all the way to the final gun.

If the Raiders want to make the playoffs, they are going to need to start treating each and every game like a playoff game from here on out – because at this point, that’s what every game is.

It doesn’t have to be pretty. They’re not going to get style point. But they need to learn to do whatever it takes to win. And they need to learn it – and put it into play – right now.