Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans: 5 Bold Predictions For Week 3 Of 2016 NFL Season
With Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season now nothing more than a fading memory, it’s time for American football aficionados to look ahead to what’s in store for Week 3.
Coming off a disappointing home loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Oakland Raiders (1-1) are slated to travel east to take on a 1-1 Tennessee Titans team that shocked the masses by defeating the Detroit Lions in their own building last Sunday.
This is a crucial Week 3 matchup for the Raiders. If Oakland wants to indeed take that long-awaited, elusive step forward and make the playoffs this season, losing to inferior AFC teams on the road isn’t the way to make it happen.
In contrast, not much is expected from the Titans in 2016. Thus, they can play fast and loose in front of the Nissan Stadium faithful and continue to work on building cohesive units on both sides of the ball.
So, will Jack Del Rio’s bunch show up on the road in a tough environment and execute a sensational performance, or will Mike Mularkey lead his oft-overlooked Titans to a triumphant home victory and a surprise 2-1 record?
Find out with these five bold predictions.
Derek Carr Electrifies
The Raiders’ Week 2 home loss to Atlanta is in no way, shape, form, or fashion indicative of how Derek Carr played. The third-year quarterback went 34/45 for 299 yards and three TDs, and was failed by Oakland’s defense in the end.
Titans preparing for dynamic Derek Carr, porous Raiders defense – ESPN (blog) https://t.co/7OMvpAXrsc
— Tennessee Titans new (@TennesTitannews) September 21, 2016
Carr and Co. have put 63 points on the board in just two games this season, and have been seemingly moving the ball at will, especially through the air. Tennessee’s defense is better than both New Orleans’ and Atlanta’s, but it simply isn’t stout enough to shut the Raiders down. Expect Derek to finish with another 250-plus yard, three TD performance.
Perrish Cox Nowhere To Be Found
As Jim Wyatt of Titans Online pointed out, Titans CB Perrish Cox struggled mightily in coverage in Week 2 against Detroit, but redeemed himself by sealing the win for Tennessee with a late interception.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 18, 2016
“I didn’t have the first half I wanted, but my teammates and coaches had faith in me,” Cox said. “They just told me to keep my head up and you’ll make the play. I just wanted to make a play, man. The offense scored and came through and left it in our hands, and I was glad I could make a play.”
— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 19, 2016
As Tennessee’s left cornerback, Cox has a daunting task ahead of him. He projects to defend Oakland’s No. 1 wide receiver, Amari Cooper, more often than not in this one, and even when roles are reversed, it will be tough sledding for Cox since Michael Crabtree isn’t exactly a delight to cover either. Expect Perrish to be exposed in an incredibly unfavorable matchup.
Titans Offense Does Enough To Keep Game Close
Oakland’s defense has given up an alarming 69 points through the first two games of the season. In fairness, the Raiders faced future Hall of Famer Drew Brees in Week 1 and the uber-talented — albeit maddeningly inconsistent — Matt Ryan in Week 2.
However, 69 points allowed in two weeks is still an abomination, and the Raiders should be worried.
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) September 19, 2016
Marcus Mariota is a ridiculously underrated quarterback whose mobility will be a great asset against Oakland’s stout defensive line, as he can use his legs to avoid overwhelming pocket pressure.
Each week the former Oregon standout looks increasingly comfortable with his new wide receivers Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, and Andre Johnson.
This Marcus Mariota to Andre Johnson TD is AS GOOD AS IT GETS!
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2016
And veteran tight end Delanie Walker presents a matchup nightmare for the Raiders, as they have been terrible against tight ends in recent years.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) September 20, 2016
Oakland only gave up 88 rushing yards and didn’t allow a rushing touchdown to New Orleans in Week 1, but followed a solid showing with a terrible performance in Week 2, giving up 139 yards and one TD to Atlanta. Thus, I’m expecting DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to give the Raiders fits and finish with over 100 yards and at least one rushing TD.
In the end, Tennessee’s offense will have put forth an admirable effort.
Raiders Offensive Line Manhandles Tennessee
The Raiders offensive line is one of their biggest advantages in this one. According to Pro Football Focus, Oakland showcases the second-best unit in the NFL. It has proved its worth thus far this season; Derek Carr has only been sacked once in two games, and the Raiders are second in rushing yards (322) and tied for first in rushing touchdowns with four.
Through two games, the run game has been very effective, and it's been a team effort.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) September 20, 2016
The Titans gave up 139 yards to Detroit in Week 2, further proving that their run defense is still a work in progress. Expect Oakland’s stellar offensive line to manhandle Tennessee on both passing and rushing downs.
Raiders Eke Out Road Win
According to Football Locks, the swell folks in Las Vegas favor the Titans by 1.5 points this week, and I agree this will be a close game. However, in the end, Oakland, led by Derek Carr and a seemingly impregnable offensive line, will eke out a road win (think 27-24) in a thriller.
[Featured Image by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]