This isn't Ropati Pitouitua's first time facing the Oakland Raiders, in fact he had faced them four times in his five year career.
During that time, his teams have been 1-3 against the Raiders and he hasn't beaten an Oakland team since 2009. Not only has he not beaten this team in four years, he has never recorded a sack against them either. This week, Ropati needs to dig down deep and make this game personal.
Pitoitua has been exactly what the Titans wanted at defensive end and more. In the running game, Ropati has consistently held the edge and no allowed big plays. As a pass rusher, what he lacks in speed and disengage moves, he has made up for with relentless effort and sure tackling. This week, RP should be primed to be a constant threat in the backfield considering that he will probably see more snaps than usual considering how limited Derrick Morgan was in practice this week.
If the Titans are going to win this game, they have to be effective containing the Raiders running backs. If that is your strategy, then the best thing you could do is have RP and Morgan starting as much as possible with Lavar Edwards being the primary backup.
There is also a place for RP on pass rushing downs. As the Titans leading edge rushers, Morgan and Pitoitua have to be in the gameplan on rushing downs. The combination of Pitoitua, Morgan, Antonio Johnson, and Jurrell Casey on the field that formation accounts for 18 of the Titans 26 sacks this season.
With all that in mind, Ropati Pitouitua may be the Titan that Tennessee needs to step up most if they are going to stop this stretch of losses and keep any hopes of the playoffs alive.