The Examiner breaks down the Raiders-Titans game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.
THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY
1. Somewhat surprisingly, Ronald Curry leads the Raiders in receiving yards (341) and receiving touchdowns (three). But considering Oakland has the 29th-ranked passing attack in the NFL, that’s not saying much. Curry’s numbers weren’t awful last week — a touchdown and 45 yards — but the fact he dropped three balls typifies this very inconsistent air attack. Can the Raiders finally get a big day through the air?
2. Speaking of the passing game, the Raiders’ need for a vertical attack doubles when examining the Titans’ biggest strength — an absolutely ferocious run-stopping defense. Ranked first in the NFL, the Titans allow a paltry 59.7 rushing yards per game. Expect the Titans to load up the box and dare the Raiders to pass on them.
3. LenDale White might not get the hype that his former Southern Cal backfield-mate Reggie Bush gets, but he is turning into a solid NFL running back. He had his first 100-yard day last week, and against the Raiders’ poor rushing defense, expect the Titans to try for an encore.
KIRK MORRISON vs. VINCE YOUNG
Morrison: Middle linebacker will have to keep an eye on elusive — and strong-armed — quarterback.
Young: Titans’ leader looks recovered from injury … and ready to terrorize defenses again.
CORNELL GREEN vs. DAVID THORNTON
Green: Raiders’ line has to create holes for running backs or this will will be a long day.
Thornton: Linebacker is consistently making tackles and must never go unblocked.
LAMONT JORDAN vs. TONY BROWN
Jordan: Rushing game has virtually disappeared of late, and Jordan has to change that.
Brown: Titans’ rushing defense has held its ground so far this year, and it all starts with the line.
Lane Kiffin’s Raiders are still very much a work in progress, but he would undoubtedly like to see some more consistency from the defense and at least some modicum of a passing attack.
Jeff Fisher doesn’t need to adjust the Titans’ modus operandi for this one. They will focus on stopping the run, making a few big plays on offense and letting their solid running game milk the clock.
THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …
On paper, these teams are similar — weak passing attacks and (until recently for the Raiders) strong running games. But the Titans have two key edges in this one: A stifling rush defense and the X-factor of their playmaker — Vince Young. TITANS 17, RAIDERS 14
RAIDERS at TITANS
Sunday, 10 a.m.
TV: KPIX (Ch. 5)
Radio: KSFO (560 AM)