Let’s look at five keys to the game:
Play a complete game:
The Raiders will be trying to wash off the stench of the biggest collapse in team history in this game. The Raiders became the fifth NFL team to blow a 20-0 halftime lead in a 29-23 overtime home loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders were great in the first half on both sides of the ball, but in the second half and overtime, the offense stalled and the defense was wore down. Early this week, Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said the team needs to learn how to play aggressively when they have a lead. This has to happen, starting in this game.
Find Davante Adams’ sweet spot:
It’s been a strange first two games for Davante Adams in a Raiders’ uniform. In a Week 1 loss at the Chargers, Adams was the featured offensive player by Las Vegas as he had 10 catches for 141 yards on 17 targets. Against the Cardinals, though, Adams had just two catches for 12 yards on seven targets. Yes, the Raiders have a lot of weapons and they are figuring things out, but Adams must be a focal point of this offense each week.
Contain Derrick Henry:
After having a solid game on run defense against the Chargers, the Raiders allowed the Cardinals to run (Kyler Murray will do that to a defense) as Arizona had 143 yards on the ground. This week, the task is Derrick Henry, the most punishing runner in the NFL. The Titans win with Henry leading the way. He can eat clock and beat up a defense. The Raiders can’t let Henry take over this game. He hasn’t been great this season as he had just 25 rushing yards against the Bills on Monday and has just 107 yards in two games. But still, he has to be a focal point for Patrick Graham’s defense.
Feed Jacobs all game:
Like everything else, the Raiders had ground success in the first half against the Cardinals after not getting into a running groove in Week 1. Las Vegas starting tailback Josh Jacobs ran hard and had some big gains, but the ground attack stalled in the second half along with everything else. The Raiders need to keep Jacobs, who has 126 yards on 29 carries this season, part of the offensive game plan for all four quarters against the Titans, especially since it may be rainy weather. According to the Associated Press, the Raiders are throwing the ball 70 percent of the time, which is the second most in the NFL. More balance is needed.
A battle of fatigue?
It will be interesting to see how both teams, who are both desperate to get a win, react to some external challenges. In addition to trying to shake the shock of the Arizona loss, the Raiders will be playing their first game of the season that kicks off at 10 a.m. their time. That often affects teams from the West Coast. The Titans, though, are coming off a Monday night road game in Buffalo, so they will have their own challenges. The team that adjusts the fastest should have an advantage.