The Titans face the Raiders Sunday in a very important matchup. The Titans currently sit at 7-5 and they are second in the AFC South (1. Texans 8-4, 2. Titans 7-5. 3. Colts, 6-6, 4. Jaguars 4-8). The Titans currently sit one game out of a playoff spot, making this game crucial.
Here are the other NFL games this week: (all games in CT)
Panthers vs Falcons SUN 12:00pm
Ravens vs Bills SUN 12:00pm
Bengals vs Browns SUN 12:00pm
Redskins vs Packers SUN 12:00pm
Lions vs Vikings SUN 12:00pm
49ers vs Saints SUN 12:00pm
Dolphins vs Jets SUN 12:00pm
Colts vs Bucs SUN 12:00pm
Broncos vs Texans SUN 12:00pm
Chargers vs Jaguars SUN 3:05
Titans vs Raiders SUN 3:25pm
Chiefs vs Patriots SUN 3:25pm
Steelers vs Cardinals SUN 3:25pm
Seahawks vs Rams SUN 7:20pm
Giants vs Eagles MON 7:15pm
The games that standout the most are Ravens vs Bills, 49ers vs Saints, Chiefs vs Patriots, Seahawks vs Rams, and of course Titans vs Raiders.
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), the Titans vs a 53.5% chance to beat the Raiders on Sunday. The Raiders, who are coming off back to back 31 point losses, are having an up and down season and are currently 6-6.
Last week, the Titans won but the Colts were plagued with injury. This week, the Titans have many injuries, similar to the Colts last week.
Currently listed as OUT for the Titans:
CB Adoree’ Jackson
CB LeShaun Sims
LB Darren Bates
LB Derick Roberson
WR Adam Humphries
Three names standout to me, two of which are in the secondary. LeShaun Sims did not play last week and CB Tye Smith played in his place. Smith played a solid game but later on, another CB went down. Adoree Jackson hurt his foot in the 1st quarter and Kareem Orr played in his place for the rest of the game. I thought the secondary had a pretty solid game and luckily, the Raiders do not have any elite receivers. Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow is OUT and he is 2nd on the team in receptions. Raiders rookie RB, Josh Jacobs, is listed as Questionable.
The injury to Adam Humphries is also important because Humphries currently has the second most receptions on the team and he is a very consistent receiver.
For the Titans, there are a few keys that can propel them to a Week 14 win:
1. Run the Ball
My biggest key every week is running the ball and it has become more important as the season has progressed. Currently, Derrick Henry is 4th in the NFL in rushing touchdowns and 3rd in rushing yards. In the last year, Henry leads the league in touchdowns and he is second in yards. Additionally, when Henry gets 19 or more carries, the Titans are 6-1 this season. These stats prove the obvious, which is Derrick Henry needs the ball and he is the key to the Titans success.
2. Bring the Pressure
Raiders QB, Derek Carr, is known for fumbling the ball, making pressure crucial. The Titans pass rush has struggled to provide help to the secondary by pressuring opposing Quarterbacks. In addition to being aggressive and bringing pressure, the Titans must stop the run. Raider rookie running back, Josh Jacobs, is currently 5th in the NFL in rushing yards and he is very elusive. Jacobs is hard to tackle and he is very fast in the open field, making stopping the run paramount.
3. Don't mess it up
The Titans have so many things going for them right now and they have a lot of momentum. With the Raiders coming off back to back 31 point losses (one floss was against the Jets), there is no way the Titans should lose this game. The Titans are known for losing games they shouldn't such as the Bills and Broncos game this season. Both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are hot right now and ultimately, the Titans control their own destiny in this game. The Titans have to avoid stupid mistakes such as fumbling on the first play of the game and giving up big plays on Special Teams.
This game will prove whether the Titans are just like last years team or if they are different. If the Titans win this game and improve to 8-5, they will be in a great position to make the playoffs. If the Titans lose, they will likely have to win out if they want a wildcard spot.
I have a good feeling about this game because of the Raiders recent struggles and the Titans recent hot streak.