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VOL. 46 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 23, 2022

Titans vs. Raiders: What to watch

By Terry McCormick

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The Titans return home on a short week and face the Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, noon CDT, Fox) in a game that could have playoff tiebreaker implications come December and January. The Raiders are in a tough division in the AFC West, and the Titans need to hold serve at home, something they didn’t do against the Giants.

First down: Be less predictable

The Titans (and their opponents) know their offense runs through Derrick Henry, but they also seem to hand it to him often on first downs – about two-thirds of the time. First down against base personnel is the time to take chances with play-action passes, which Ryan Tannehill has proven he can execute. That can make the offense more explosive.

Second down: Run from sub packages

The Titans also need to find a way to mix things up on second and third down, especially four or less yards, by creating some rushing lanes and running Henry more out of 11 personnel (single running back and single tight end on the field) or even from with multiple-tight end formations, when those tight ends are spread out.

Third down: Win on third down

Time of possession is important to all teams, but a run-oriented team like the Titans needs to move the chains on third downs and keep the distance manageable. Breakdowns in the season opener (3-of-11 on third down) played a key role in letting the lead against the Giants slip away.

Fourth down: Keep the pressure on

The Raiders have explosive offensive capability with quarterback Derek Carr, newly arrived receiver Davante Adams and tight end Darren Waller. The best way for the Titans to try and neutralize that is to win in the trenches with Jeffery Simmons, Bud Dupree and company to keep Carr from finding those big-play weapons.

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