It feels like it has been a while since the Titans last played a game. For our sanity, that may not be the worst thing in the world. I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed football, food, and family. Due to the holiday, this post will be shorter than the usual previews, unfortunately. My apologies. Nevertheless, onto Oakland:
Reasons For Confidence: Raiders' Secondary, Return of Wright
Raiders' Secondary: This is a banged up group that has been struggling recently. While the group features some talented players, especially the ageless Charles Woodson, they have been giving up a lot of plays through the air. Things have been looking even worse recently for the group because the front seven has not been able to get as much pressure on the quarterback as they previously were, due to the loss of Justin Tuck and Aldon Smith. The Titans might not have to constantly keep extra men in to block on Sunday if things start off well against this pass rush. It will put less emphasis on the play of the wide receivers, who we all know have been struggling to make plays on their own.
Return of Wright: Speaking of the wide receivers, the Titans are getting their best receiver back in Kendall Wright. Not only is he in line to make some plays with this secondary, it should help open some things up for some of the other receivers. With Wright and Delanie Walker drawing attention, the Titans may be able to draw some simple things up for Dorial Green-Beckham, and allow him to get involved. I would not be surprised to see a big day for the Titans through the air.
Reasons for Concern: Raiders' Aerial Attack, Raiders' Offensive Line
Raiders' Aerial Attack: This will be a very interesting matchup. The Raiders have a very lethal aerial attack, and the Titans have a top pass defense in the league. Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree have been making a lot of plays deep, and if the Titans' pass defense has a weakness, it is big plays through the air. It will be interesting to see which side of the ball wins this matchup.
Raiders' Offensive Line: One of the reasons the Titans' pass defense has been tops despite injuries in the secondary is because of the front seven getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. However, the Raiders have the best offensive line in the league in regards to pass protection, according to Football Outsiders. If the Titans do not get pressure on Derek Carr, it would not be a surprise to see this passing offense have a big day as well.
Prediction: This is an interesting matchup. Two similar teams with promising young quarterbacks. I would not be surprised to see a relatively high scoring game. Since the Titans are at home and have had a little bit of extra time to prepare, I am going to give them the edge. Titans win, 31-27.