Oakland Raiders: The one thing to improve versus the Tennesse Titans
The Oakland Raiders and Tennesse Titans had even odds at the beginning of the week. Now, the week three game moved in the Titans’ favor, according to Silver and Black Pride.
One of the biggest reasons the Raiders could lose to the Titans is the defense.
How bad is the Oakland Raiders defense?
Here are some alarming numbers about the Raiders defense.
- The Raiders are the first team to have allowed more than 500 yards in each of their first two games, since the 1970 merger, per ESPN.
- The Raiders rank 23rd among NFL defenses in yards per carry with 4.5 yards per carry average. They also give up 404 passing yards per game.
- Opposing teams completed 54 of 76 passes for 808 yards, seven touchdowns (most in the NFL) and only one interception. *
- Oakland ranks No. 29 in opponent’s completion percentage (71.1 percent) and 32nd in opponent’s passer rating (131.4). *
- Football Outsiders ranks the Raiders 30th in defense-adjusted value over average, which calculates the Raiders’ defense to an average schedule of opponents. Oakland is last in pass defense and 28th in rush defense according to this metric.
- The Raiders rank 30th in sacks, with only two. Both came on the first drive in Weeks One and Two. Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Denico Autry, Williams, Justin Ellis, and Stacy McGee have combined for 10 pressures between them, according to PFF.
- Overall, the Raiders interior linemen grade poorly by PFF. Ellis ranks 58th among defensive interior lineman. Autry is tied for 60th. Darius Latham ranks 92nd, Ward ranks 101st, and Dan Williams ranks 108.
- The Raiders pressure QBs on just 21.8 percent of opponent’s dropbacks in two games, which is below the league average of 31 percent in 2016.
- Oakland can still not cover the tight ends. The Falcons tight ends caught 10 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown.
The Major Key to beating the Titans
Before we all discount the Raiders defense, let’s remember it is two games. Granted, it is two horrible games. However, Oakland has too much talent and wise minds on defense not to produce.
Remember, the Raiders brought in a lot of changing parts via the NFL Draft and free agency. It was foolish to expect the Raiders to not have growing pains. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said this as he took some responsibility for the poor performance too.
Either way, the Raiders main key to victory remains the defense. Anyone who watched either game versus the Saints or Falcons can tell you that. Atlanta used Tevin Coleman and DeVonta Freeman to expose the middle of Oakland’s defense. The Saints relied on their crafty receivers.
Against the Titans, the Raiders defense must drastically improve.
Tennessee already proved they could move the ball in the third preseason game. Derek Henry and DeMarcco Murray could both bring outstanding fantasy performances versus the Raiders.
Not to mention, the Raiders still struggle covering the tight end. Now, Oakland faces one of the league’s best in Delanie Walker.
Further, Marcus Mariota is slowly becoming a dynamic player as he has completed 67 percent of his passes for four touchdowns, 509 yards, and two interceptions.
Ultimately, this game will come down to the Oakland making a play on defense. Last year’s matchup was a single score victory for the Raiders. Both teams improved since then, so it should be an interesting matchup.
On offense, Oakland has proven they can play with anyone. Quarterback Derek Carr lead the team on a game-winning drive in week one. He has only been sacked one time while finding a cast of different receivers.
The running game has been balanced. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington both serve as the explosive change of pace backs behind Latavius Murray.
Therefore, do not expect the offensive game plan to change much.
Defensively, the Raiders will change it by integrated rookies Corey James and Karl Joseph. I’d also like to see more of Shilique Calhoun and Dan Williams.
Either way, their defensive effort can not get much worse. This is the biggest key to victory for the 1-1 Raiders.
Oakland will try to turn their defensive effort around at 10 A.M. PST on Sunday, Sept. 25 versus the Tennessee Titans.