Tennessee Titans Present Pivotal Matchup for Oakland Raiders

By Jesse Oakley
Troy Taormina- USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Oakland Raiders play the Tennessee Titans in a game that could prove to be crucial for the Raiders. If the Raiders manage to win this game, it still doesn’t mean they’ll make the playoffs, but playing a par Titans team and coming away with a win would prove the Raiders aren’t going to wither in a powerful AFC West.

The Titans have been pretty inconsistent in their season so far, currently sitting at 4-6  but also second in the AFC South. Of course, that’s also because of an awful Houston Texans team and the Jacksonville Jaguars being, well, the Jaguars. With Chris Johnson also not really living up to his CJ2K nickname, the Raiders shouldn’t have a lot of trouble in at least making it close.

It starts with the quarterback, though. It’s still uncertain if  Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin will be getting the nod for this Sunday’s game. If McGloin gets the start, it’ll be a whole new game, since the Titans don’t have much to study film wise. If Pryor gets the start, however, he’ll probably still be a little sore from his knee injury, which will hurt his ability to run. There are pros and cons to each quarterback, though.

Pryor is great on the run, setting a record 93-yard touchdown run by a QB, but he also lacks in accuracy. If Pryor is forced to scramble in this game, his knee might act up again. McGloin is a rookie, so putting him out on the field for only his second career start would be a slight gamble, even taking his performance last week into consideration.

There’s also the running game, with Rashad Jennings seemingly replacing Darren McFadden. The latter has sat out the last two games with an injury in the last year of his contract, and has only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Jennings has averaged 5.2 yards per carry and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. He currently has a higher yards per carry rate than McFadden and more yards on less carries too. Plan on seeing Jennings getting the ball a lot in this week’s game.

Finally, there’s defense, which simply comes down to this: if the Raiders really want this win, their underrated defense will step up and stop everything the Titans have to throw at them. If the Raiders can’t pull it together, it’ll be a long day for them.

Getting a win is pivotal, because if the Raiders can keep pace with a decent San Diego Chargers team, a team the Raiders beat once this season so far, they could pass them in the Wild Card with a little luck and some big wins. Luck is one of the things the Raiders don’t seem to have, though. Maybe, just maybe, getting a win here against the Titans could be just the push the Raiders need.

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