Raiders look to end losing streak, return home to host the Titans

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By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — After losing back-to-back road games in which they were outscored 64-12 in both contests, the Raiders will look to get back into winning column as they host the visiting Tennessee Titans in Week 14 action at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Sunday’s game will mark the first of the final two home games this season, both of which are against AFC South opponents.

This will be the fourth time in the last five years that these two teams have met, the first matchup in Oakland since 2013. The Raiders currently own a three-game winning streak against the Titans, dating back to 2015. Oakland’s most recent victory over Tennessee, a 26-16 in Nashville in 2017, gave the Raiders a 26-20 edge in the all-time series.

The Raiders are 11-2 at home against the Titans all-time.

Kickoff for this matchup is set for 1:25 p.m. PT on CBS, with Greg Gumbel, Trent Green and Melanie Collins on the call.

In Week 13, the Raiders were embarrassed again on the road, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 40-9, to drop their record to 6-6 on the season. Oakland lost to the New York Jets, 34-3, in East Rutherford, NJ in Week 12.

The Black and Silver lining in the loss to the Chiefs was rookie running back Josh Jacobs registering his fifth 100-yard game of the year, tying Mark van Eeghen for the fourth-most 100-yard rushing performances during a single season in franchise history. With his 104 rushing yards on 17 carries, Jacobs surpassed 1,000 yards for the season and became just the 11th player in franchise history to accomplish that feat.

Jacobs is the only rookie in franchise history to record a 1,000 yards in a single season with 1,061 yards through 12 games, good for fourth-most in the league.

Tight end Darren Waller was Oakland’s top receiving threat against Kansas City, hauling in 7 catches for 100 yards. For the season, Waller has been the Raiders best receiving option, leading the team in receptions (66) and receiving yards (807) through Week 13.

Waller is second on the team in receiving touchdowns (3) behind wide receiver Tyrell Williams.

Sunday’s game could have a playoff-type feel to it, as both teams desperately need to win keep pace for a wild card berth in the AFC playoffs. Oakland and Tennessee are currently behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) for the final berth with four games remaining in the season.

The Titans (7-5) are currently riding a three-game winning streak, and are coming off a huge 31-17 win on the road against their AFC South rival, the Indianapolis Colts in Week 13.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is 5-1 since taking over for an ineffective Marcus Mariota following Tennessee’s 2-4 start, has thrown for 1,602 yards, with 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Tannehill has a passer rating of 113.9 in his six starts this season.

Tennessee’s running game is spearheaded by running back Derrick Henry.

He, like Jacobs, is a former Alabama running back that has turned into a vital piece for his team’s offense this season. There’s a good chance that both running backs will be representing their teams at the Pro Bowl at the end of the season.

The four-year pro is currently third in the NFL in rushing with 1,140 yards and is tied for second with Green Bay’s Aaron Jones with 11 rushing touchdowns among running backs.

Henry rumbled through Indianapolis, rushing for 149 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. During the Titans’ three-game winning streak, Henry has rushed for 496 yards and 5 touchdowns on 68 carries proving that he’s Tennessee’s workhorse.

Henry, who has been dealing with a hamstring issue, didn’t practice for the Titans on Wednesday.

Defensively, the Titans are the 7th-ranked scoring defense, yielding just 19.5 points per game this season and could pose a problem for the Raiders. Oakland is averaging just 19.8 points per game this season.

Second-year linebacker Harold Landry III registered one of Tennessee’s three sacks on Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Landry III leads the Titans with 9.0 sacks on the season.

Cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Kevin Byard are tied for the team lead with four interceptions apiece. Ryan and Byard each recorded an interception against the Colts.

Following Sunday’s matchup, the Raiders will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in their final home game in Oakland in Week 15. The Titans will return home for a divisional matchup against the Houston Texans.

Oakland Raiders-Tennessee Titans preview: Carr, Raiders needs offense to click against Titans Saturday

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP file photo: Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr slings it back to air it out against the Green Bay Packers in week two of the exhibition season at Lambeau Field Thu Aug 18th in Green Bay

OAKLAND, Calif — Derek Carr looked rather pedestrian, completing 9 of 13 for just 38 yards, during Oakland’s 20-12 loss to Green Bay last Thursday night.

Carr and the Raiders’ first-team offense have produced zero touchdowns during the team’s first two preseason games.

In fact, Oakland’s first-team offense have produced just six points in the three quarters that Carr has played so far this preseason. If you’re Raider Nation, you’re not too concerned, but you do want to see Carr engineer the Raiders into the end zone before the end of the preseason.

What’s troubling for me with Oakland’s offense is not the lack of touchdowns, but the chemistry issues in the passing game, particularly with training camp roommates in Carr and Cooper on deep routes.

In Oakland’s first preseason game against the Cardinals in Arizona, Carr and Cooper were disconnected on a deep throw down the Cardinals’ sideline that Cooper caught, but couldn’t keep his feet in bounds.

Then against the Packers, Carr threw an underthrown pass to Cooper that was intercepted by Packers cornerback Damarious Randall in the first quarter.

“I tried to throw it up and give Amari a chance,” Carr said after the game. “This is the time to do it. I am risky, but at this time, a bit more risky.”

I do expect Carr to play comfortable in front of the Raider Nation Saturday, when Oakland (1-1) host Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in both team’s third preseason game, where generally the starters play the majority of the game.

Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. PDT at the Oakland Coliseum, with the game seen nationally on CBS.

Carr led four fourth quarter/overtime game-winning drives, one including a 24-21 victory over the Titans in Week 12 last season after trailing 17-21 late in the fourth quarter.

Carr orchestrated a 9-play, 90-yard drive in 3:20 that ended with a 12-yard touchdown to wide receiver Seth Roberts with 1:21 left in the game.

It was  Roberts’s first career 100-yard receiving game (six catches, 113 yards, and two touchdowns), and the second time in 2015 that Carr and Roberts connected on a game-winning score in the final two minutes.

Coincidentally, Carr found Roberts for a 12-yard touchdown in Oakland’s 37-33 home win over Baltimore in Week 2.

Oakland’s first-team defense can improve, especially against the running game. The Raiders were battered by the strong running game of Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who carried the ball nine times for 45 yards.

Lacy closed out a 14-play, 74-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the first quarter. Lacy had a 20-yard run on 2nd and 10 that was key on the Packers’ opening drive, which saw a litany of Raiders missing tackles.

Tennessee (1-1) is coming off a 26-16 loss at home against the NFC Champions, Carolina Panthers, has the promise of being one of the surprising teams this year, especially with Mariota at the helm.

The second-year quarterback completed 9 of 10 passes for 104 yards passing with one interception. Mariota did hook up with wide receiver Harry Douglas for a 23-yard touchdown on his final throw after engineering Tennessee’s first three drives.

Tennessee also has the potential of having one of the league’s better rushing attacks with running backs DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry.

Murray, who was acquired by the Titans in the offseason after spending a disastrous 2015 season in Philadelphia, looked like he is ready for a bounce back season as evident of his 71-yard touchdown run against the Chargers in San Diego in the team’s first preseason game.

The six-year pro out of Oklahoma has 11 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown through two games this preseason.

Henry, the bruiser out of Alabama who Tennessee drafted in the second round this past May, has 15 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown through two games this preseason.

One player that I’m very interested in watching for the Titans is rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe, who Mariota recently told Around the NFL’s Marc Sessler “he makes it easy,” when catching the ball.

The UMass product leads Tennessee with eight catches for 103 yards this preseason.