Each week Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak poses five questions ahead of that week's matchup. As the Raiders get ready to face the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Week 12 action, here are this week's questions.
*1. How much of a factor will the read-option be? *
A very popular play/offensive philosophy in college football, the zone-read has yet to gain wide acceptance in the NFL. The teams that have adopted the concept tend to get their quarterbacks hit – a lot. There are teams, however, that use it sparingly, strategically, and as an element of surprise. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is adept at running this play. He only has 130 rushing yards on 21 carries. His longest run of the year, 23 yards for a score, came in their last game against Jacksonville. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., saw it first hand as linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks with Seattle QB Russell Wilson, and defending the likes of San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.
2. How many sacks will the Raiders chalk up?
The Raiders dropped Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford a total of eight times. The Titans have allowed 31 sacks on the season, as Mariota has been dropped 24 times, and backup quarterback Zach Mettenberger has been sacked nine times. Second-year defensive end Khalil Mack leads the team with five sacks, linebacker Malcolm Smith has four and rookie defensive end Mario Edwards Jr has come on lately.
Photos from the Raiders vs Titans all-time series.
- What will jump-start the Raiders offense? **
After chalking up over 400 yards and 30 points per game for three weeks in a row, the Raiders offense has hit some snags the past two weeks. Head Coach Jack Del Rio spoke about getting into a rhythm and he also doesn't subscribe to the theory that you have to run the ball a certain amount of time. Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper has been quiet the past few weeks, running back Latavius Murray has been stuck in neutral and the Raiders have had trouble scoring. What will it be? Opening the game with a long run or pass? A sustained 80-yard drive to start the game? A great catch? A trick play?
*4. Will the Titans running game be a factor? *
Antonio Andrews has rushed for 376 yards on 99 carries. Second-leading rusher Dexter McCluster was injured last week against Jacksonville and Bishop Sankey, the third-leading rusher, has 166 yards on 41 carries. The Raiders have struggled stopping the run during their current three-game losing streak. They allowed 195 against Pittsburgh, 263 against Minnesota and 109 yards against Detroit.
5. Will the weather be a factor?
Rain is in the forecast for Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. It is supposed to be a few degrees cooler than it has been – high of 59 is expected with showers. Ball security and throwing/catching a wet football could be issues in this game.