The Oakland Raiders head back out on the road to take on the Tennessee Titans in a battle of 1-1 teams.
The Titans reached that record after a thrilling come-from-behind win over the Detroit Lions last week, winning 16-to-15.
Head coach Jack Del Rio and the Raiders coaching staff are looking for a way to get their defense going after allowing over 1,000 yards in the first two games, with the opposing teams scoring 69 points overall. It's largely been the secondary at fault, though they won't be facing an offense that is as explosive as the Falcons and Saints.
Second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota leads the offense, but has tossed for just 509 yards on the season, but does have four touchdowns and two interceptions. The former Oregon Duck likes to go to his tight end, Delanie Walker, who led the team in receptions last season. He currently has nine receptions for 125 yards, but you may see that increase Sunday if the Raiders' secondary continues to struggle against the tight end.
Head coach Mike Mularkey likes to establish the run and has two very capable backs in the backfield. Newly-acquired running back DeMarco Murray ranks 10th in the league with 131 rushing yards, while adding another 91 yards through the air. He's platooned with rookie running back and former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, who has 93 total yards and is a very capable receiver out of the backfield.
Malcolm Smith and the Oakland Raiders linebackers will have to do a better job covering both the tight end and running backs, an area they struggled with last week against the Falcons. The Titans offense is averaging just 16 points per game, 28th in the NFL thus far. But they may find some room against a Raiders defense that is allowing 517 yards per game, dead last in the league.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has the Raiders offense clicking but will have a tougher test Sunday as he takes his squad up against Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who is in his second year as the defensive play caller. With two games under their belt, the Titans’ defense ranks 13th in three major defensive categories: rushing yards allowed per game (101.0 yard avg.), passing yards allowed per game (237.0 yard avg.) and total yards allowed per game (338.0 yard avg.).
Running back Latavius Murray and the Raiders running backs have found running room thus far, and keeping the rushing attack going will be crucial against LeBeau's exotic blitzes. The Raiders offensive line has done a good job keeping quarterback Derek Carr off the dirt, but LeBeau will want to apply the pressure on the young gunslinger to throw off the offense. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo leads the Titans with two sacks.
Second-year wide receiver Amari Cooper struggled to find much room agains the Falcons last week but will need to get going again against the Titans. The Titans secondary finished 25th in takeaways last season, and only has one turnover this year -- an interception from veteran cornerback Perrish Cox.
The Raiders will continue out on the road next week, traveling to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in week 4.