Injured Quarterbacks Return

Intriguing Game- Week One

Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans

Raiders: For the first time in 15 years, they finished with a winning record and made the playoffs. The last time we saw them playing postseason football, it was in January of 2003 when they were facing the Buccaneers for the Super Bowl. Quite a bit has happened since then. After a successful season last year, they’re back and looking to take that next step as a serious contender in the AFC. Derek Carr returns after suffering a broken leg last year and signing a contract extension this Summer. A majority of the offense is back. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts and that offensive line which I feel is the second best behind the Dallas Cowboys. They also added two new pieces. Jared Cook is a tight end that can open the field up over the middle and he’s a big target that Derek Carr can utilize and the biggest, of course, was getting Marshawn Lynch to give their offense some balance and take pressure off Carr. Their defense is where the questions arise. They struggled a lot to defend the pass. The front seven will be solid once again, especially if Khalil Mack is up there creating havoc like he did in 2016 and that won him the defensive MVP. Who knows what could’ve happened last year if Derek didn’t get hurt last year. He was my front-runner to win MVP and you saw how much the Raiders missed him after he got hurt. It’s time to start the new season and they’ll open things up on the road in Nashville.

Titans: When I watch them play, I describe them the same exact way I have the Kansas City Chiefs. They play the game with an old-school feel. They want to run the football, control the clock, dominate that line of scrimmage and use their tight end. The Titans also have one of the best offensive lines in football. When Mike Mularkey was hired as the team’s head coach, the reception he received was a negative one. After a 1-3 start last year, they went on a winning streak and recorded wins over the Packers, Broncos, and Chiefs in Kansas City which is a very tough place to play and get a victory. They almost won the division and they sent five guys to the pro bowl, their most since 2008, the year they had the best record in the AFC. Everything is there for the Titans to win football games. They’re a well-coached team, they have a quarterback who will continue to get better, a running back in DeMarco Murray who fits that system perfectly, young receivers including Corey Davis who they drafted with their first pick in April and a defense that doesn’t get the credit it really deserves. To kick things off, they’ll open up against a team that they’ve become familiar with.

Raiders Player To Watch: Bruce Irvin– When you play with a guy like a Khalil Mack, you’ll see your chances to take advantages of one on one opportunities and he does. He has an electric first step, he has a wide variety of pass rushing moves to get to the quarterback and he never lets up on the play.

Titans Player To Watch: Eric Decker– This was an under the radar move, but it gives the Titans some more depth in their receiving core and a savvy veteran. I see him being used on third and short yardage situations to help convert the chains over the middle of the field.

Final Analysis: These are two teams with bright futures. Two young quarterbacks who ironically both got hurt the same day last season both make their return. The biggest thing to watch is Marshawn Lynch. I think it’ll take a while to get him comfortable once again. The Raiders key to the game will be to use Jared Cook when the chance presents itself and the secondary needs to be aware of everything around them, no let downs. For the Titans, it’s the same thing as their opponents and their secondary needs to show they can make a play on the ball especially with Cooper and Crabtree in town.

Prediction: Titans 24 Raiders 21