Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans: Game Day Open Thread


The Oakland Raiders are in Music City for a rare date with Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans – a game they absolutely, positively have to win.

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The Raiders, riding a three game losing streak, have got to fight and scuffle – and find a way to win this game – if they want to keep their thin playoff hopes alive. Consecutive losses to Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Detroit have made Oakland’s margin for error exactly zero.

To get to the postseason, the Raiders are likely going to have to run the table the rest of the way – at worst, they have go 5-1 over the last six. It’s very likely going to take nine or ten wins to get a ticket to the postseason dance.

Needless to say, the Raiders are going to have to handle their business and hope for some help from the teams ahead of them along the way.

To get themselves back on track and put themselves in a position to handle their business though, the Raiders are going to have to find a way to get their offense rolling again. After scoring a blistering 106 points in weeks seven through nine, the Raiders managed just 27 total points in weeks ten and eleven.

Their running game has been non-existent and their passing game has been completely out of synch. Rookie phenom Amari Cooper has had a number of critical drops and Oakland has not been able to generate anything offensively.

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It might be difficult to get the running game going without center Rodney Hudson – the anchor of that offensive line – who is still nursing an ankle injury. But they did get a dose of good news with the return of tight end Lee Smith, who is hands down, Oakland’s best blocking tight end.

Smith’s return along with Tony Bergstrom‘s start in the middle of the line should give OC Bill Musgrave all the incentive he needs to avoid running up the gut and attack Tennessee on the edges. Latavius Murray has had some tremendous success running to the edges this season – he led the AFC in rushing at one point and was sixth in the entire league – and yet, Musgrave has inexplicably moved away from that in the last couple of weeks.

Oakland is going to need to get Murray going again. They need to establish their running game as it will make life a whole lot easier on Derek Carr and the offense as a whole. It doesn’t seem coincidental that Oakland’s offensive decline has run in tandem with Murray’s limited touches and effectiveness.

The Raiders will also need to take away Marcus Mariota’s favorite target/security blanket in Delanie Walker. The big tight end leads Tennessee in receptions has almost twice the number of catches as the next pass catcher on the list. Oakland has struggled covering tight ends this year as their linebackers group has been beaten soundly, but they will need to find a way to get it done today.

If they can take away Walker and Anthony Fasano – who account for almost half of Mariota’s offensive production – they will be in good shape. If they struggle to cover the two big targets, Oakland’s defense might be in trouble.

In addition to their three game losing streak this season, the Raiders are riding a three game losing streak to the Titans. The two teams don’t play often, but the Raiders have made it a habit of losing to them. Oakland’s last win over the Titans came in 2005, a 34-25 victory. After that though, the Titans have beaten the Raiders in 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Next: Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Titans

Oakland has managed to break a lot of nasty streaks so far this year, so let’s hope they can break another one here against the Titans.

Game time is coming. We believe Oakland is going to start getting their ship righted today.

28. Final. 17. 35. 34

The storylines are plentiful. Which are the most important to you? How do you see this game playing out? Will the Raiders win and keep their playoff hopes alive? Or will they fall in Music City and have their hopes dashed once and for all?

It’s open thread time. This is your place to talk about the game and all things Raiders. So step on up and make yourselves heard. It’s almost game time – time to sound off, Raider Nation!