Tale Of The Tape: Tennessee Titans At Oakland Raiders
- QuarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick is one of the most competent backup quarterbacks in the league, but he will make mistakes that hurt the Titans at key moments. That’s basically the reason that Fitzpatrick is no longer the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. Fitzpatrick should be able to move the ball against the Raiders, but he will have to finish drives if they are going to emerge with the road victory.Raise your hand if you had undrafted rookie quarterback Matt McGloin throwing three TD passes and no interceptions in a road win in Week 11 against the Texans. McGloin’s performance was one of the most unexpected of the year, and he should remain under center in this game. McGloin was cool under pressure and he also was accurate with his passes.
- OffenseIt’s difficult for head coach Mike Munchak to trust running back Chris Johnson. Despite his explosive speed, he often struggles to run for more than 50 yards per game. He seems content to have one good game in every four or five games, and that’s why the Titans may be better off with Shonn Greene running the ball. Tight end Delanie Walker is a solid red zone weapon who has scored five TDs this season.The Raiders have not played consistently, but they have had some good moments this year where they have outsmarted opposing defenses. That appeared to happen against the Texans, when they came out and took the game over in the second half. Running back Rashad Jennings had a career-high 150 yards, while Rod Streater has proven he knows how to get open.
- DefenseThe Titans have done a solid job on defense, as they rank 10th in yards allowed. Strong safety Bernard Pollard is one of the biggest hitters in the league and he leads the Titans with 63 tackles. Outside linebacker Zach Brown is right behind with 56 stops and he has 3.0 sacks. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (7.0 sacks) has given the Titans a solid interior pass rush.Middle linebacker Nick Roach is not a headliner, but he is a solid athlete who makes key plays that help his team win games. He leads the Raiders with 68 tackles and he has also registered 2.0 sacks. Free safety Charles Woodson is among the Raiders leaders in tackles with 59 tackles, but he has slowed considerably and is a liability in coverage.
- Special TeamsThe Titans have done a decent job in punt and kickoff coverage, but they have not been able to flip the field in their favor with big returns of their own. Darius Reynaud is just ordinary, so that is not likely to change. Rob Bironas has made 15-of-18 FG attempts this year, but he has not attempted a 50-yarder.Punt and kickoff coverage has been an issue for the Raiders this year. They have allowed a punt return for a score and punter Marquette King is just ordinary. Veteran Sebastian Janikowski got off to a poor start and he has made 11-of-16 FG attempts this year.
The Raiders have momentum after securing a road victory at Houston, and they have to come back with a similar effort if they want to have a shot at making the postseason as a Wild-Card team. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor