Oakland Raiders (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OAK +1.5/TEN -1.5
Over/Under Total: 47
The Oakland Raiders make the trip to Music City to take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Both teams are 1-1 and look to get their seasons pointed in the right direction with a win this week. Not many people picked the Titans to win and the Raiders to lose in week two, but thatís what happened. The Raiders dropped a 35-28 result at home to the Atlanta Falcons, which followed a one-point win at New Orleans the previous week. Can they come down south for their second win in three weeks? The Titans overcame a loss to the Vikings at home in week one to beat the Lions in Detroit on Sunday, 16-15. Can they get the win at home this weekend?
Hopes were big for the Titans this season with added maturity at key positions and a lot of moves being made in the offseason to boost their profile. And going into Ford Field on Sunday to beat a surging Lions team was a good development for a team that hasnít had a ton in recent memory, including just five combined wins in the past two seasons. The game on Sunday got off to a strange start, with Titansí back DeMarco Murray taking a tackle in the end-zone for a safety. The Lions added some field goals and took a 15-3 lead into the 4th quarter.
the Titans offense looked awful, as penalties and other miscues contributed to a mere FG through three quarters. Marcus Mariota then sprang to life, with two TD passes in the final quarter lifting Tennessee to a 1-point win. First Mariota connected with reliable target Delanie Walker on a 30-yard TD connection, before finding Andre Johnson, still a viable target after all these years. The comeback win and avoiding the 0-2 start should pump some wind into the Titansí sails. The last drive saw them go 92 yards, while overcoming a pair of 10-yard penalties. It was a galvanizing moment.
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In each of their first two games, the Titans have managed 16 points in each game. But maybe with the 4th-quarter spurt, they can get things rolling a bit. They showed some clutch with the timely scoring on Sunday. The run-package of rookie Derrick Henry and 2014 rushing champion DeMarco Murray looks like it might start to pay off. Henry ran for 40 yards, while Murray had 89 yards on the ground, including a big 67-yard scamper. Murray also caught 7 balls and looks to be gaining comfort in this offense.
Week two was also a good week for the Tennessee defense. They were decent against Minnesota too in the opener, as the Vikings defense was responsible for 14 of the points. Against Detroit, a team that scored 39 the previous week on the road, they actually kept the offense out of the end zone, as Detroitís only TD was a defensive one. With three through two games, the offense needs to help this defense out some. Still, we saw this defense tighten up on week two to enable the offense to mount the improbable comeback. Even as the offense strung them out, they remained resilient. They might need that trait is spades this week against the formidable Oakland offense.
Weeks one and two offered a sneak preview of the inconsistency Oakland is still working through. Theyíre a team on the way up, but things on both sides of the ball can change from week to week. In two weeks, we see a defense that hasnít kept pace with the other side of the ball in terms of development. A total of 1035 yards of offense have been posted in two games against the Raiders in two games and thatís where Jack Del Rio and his defensive acumen needs to begin surfacing.
Derek Carr was good again on Sunday, with 34/45 passing with 299 yards and three TD passes. He hasnít thrown an interception yet and is turning into the force behind center that the Raiders lacked for years. Latavius Murray hasnít been bad with an assist from DeAndre Washington, as the run sets the table for a formidable aerial attack. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are a nice 1-2 punch, while Carr also utilizes a vast array of different targets. In the red zone, he looks for big bodies like Clive Watford and Andre Holmes, both who caught TD passes on Sunday.
But with a team thatís supposed to be on the rise, you canít lose to a team making the long trip that has looked like garbage dating back to last season. Thatís a game you need to win. Again, Del Rio needs to find some answers. The defense has allowed an almost-comical 819 yards of passing yardage in just two games. The pressure up-front has been lacking and the star of the ďDĒ Khalil Mack hasnít made much of an impact yet. Unless they tighten up considerably, itís going to be hard for the Raiders to get into the mix this season.
This is a tough game to call. We think we understand both teams, but do we? And also, each squad has a pretty wide range with which they operate, making it difficult to try to pinpoint much of anything. Itís been a while, however, since the Titans had much to be happy about with five wins in the past two seasons. A win over another good team this week puts them at 2-1 and would be big for them. But the Raiders would hate to drop back-to-back games after that big win over the Saints with the gutty two-point conversion at the end in week one. I think this game matches up pretty well for Oakland defensively, or at least better than the first two games. And I also see the Titans ďDĒ continuing to play well. Iím going under in this one.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iím betting on this game going under 47 points.
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