Raiders on the road in Tennessee

Oakland Raiders (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Vegas Line: Tennessee (-6.5)
Over/Under: 40.5
Kickoff Time: 10:00 AM PST

The last time the Oakland Raiders faced the Tennessee Titans, (Oct. 28, 2007),Vince Young was still considered a future perennial Pro Bowl quarterback, Lane Kiffin was still Al Davis’ mini-me, and Raider Nation was debating between Josh McCown, Daunte Culpepper, or JaMarcus Russell being the starting quarterback for the silver and black.

Since that time, Vince Young has imploded, gone through suicidal tendencies, and has re-emerged as Tennessee’s present and future quarterback. Lane Kiffin has gone from golden boy to hated, treacherous, liar in the confines of 1220 Harbor Parkway (Raiders’ HQ), as well as Vol Nation, and is back in California as the head coach of Al Davis’ favorite college team — the USC Trojans. Both McCown and Culpepper are playing in the United Football League, while Russell is attempting to stay out of jail on possession of a controlled substance.

The Titans definitely won’t see the same Raiders Sunday afternoon at LP Field — the Raiders who were on that 2007 team will probably see much of the same. For all of the Raiders’ turmoil the past three years, the Titans have been their antithesis. Led by the longest-tenured coach in the NFL, Jeff Fisher, the Titans have been one of the most consistent franchises in the league.

The Titans come off an 8-8 2009 campaign in which their two-year playoff streak was broken. The down year may have been a blessing in disguise for Tennessee. After an 0-6 start, Young took the helm from former Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins, and went 8-2 as starter to finish the season. His performance in those 10 games have given Fisher and Titans fans the same hope they had in 2007 — Young will be a perennial Pro Bowler. Young threw for 1,879 yards, 10 touchdowns against seven interceptions, and a 82.8 quarterback rating.

Young had a little help in ’09 up front. The Titans’ offensive line allowed the second-fewest sacks in the NFL, only allowing 16 for the season.

One major difference for the Titans from the ’07 season will be who lines up in the backfield with Young. In 2007 it was Lendale White, who has since been moved to Denver. In this game, the Raiders will face one of the most dangerous runners in Chris Johnson. Johnson finished 2009 with 2,006 yards rushing (358 attempts) and 503 yards receiving (50 receptions), for 2,509 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns.

The Titans offense will face a much improved Oakland defense from 2009. The Raiders ranked 26th in total defense (361.9 ypg), 29th in rush defense (155.5 ypg), but they were ranked seventh against the pass (206.4 ypg) during the ’09 campaign. With Pro Bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha returning along with safeties Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch, the Raiders’ secondary returns intact with the only change being Stanford Routt taking Chris Johnson’s job at the other corner position. Should the Raiders need another corner, rookie Jeremy Ware proved capable during the preseason.

Where the Raiders really improved their defense was in the front seven. Rookie Lamarr Houston, Trevor Scott, and Matt Shaughnessy will share time at defensive end, while Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, and John Henderson will rotate in the middle. Desmond Bryant would normally be in the mix at defensive tackle, but the Raiders have him listed as questionable for opening day.

The Raiders will open with a completely new linebacking corps for 2010. Kamerion Wimbley comes over from Cleveland and Quentin Groves comes from a trade with Jacksonville to bookend rookie first-round pick Rolando McClain in the middle. Oakland hopes that these three can shore up the porous run defense while strengthening their already sturdy pass defense.

On offense, the Raiders are hoping that the arrival of Jason Campbell will be the answer the team has needed on offense. In order for that to happen, the Raiders are going to have to be better on the offensive line. Mario Henderson (LT), Robert Gallery (LG), Cooper Carlisle (RG), and Langston Walker (RT) will have to up their game and help rookie center Jared Veldheer get acclimated to the speed of the NFL.

Luckily, for the Raiders, the offensive line won’t be facing the likes of Travis Laboy, Kyle Vanden Bosch, or Albert Haynesworth this time around. The three combined for four of five sacks in 2007. The Titans defense is so suspect that the biggest buzz surrounding the team is whether or not they will make a run at trading with the Redskins for Haynesworth. In 2009, the Titans’ defense ranked 28th in total defense (365.6 ypg), 10th against the run (106.9 ypg), and 31st against the pass (258.7 ypg).

The Raiders win if…

  • Chris Johnson needs 25 carries to reach the 100 yard mark.
  • If their special teams can avoid negative big plays such as fumbles on returns or allowing the big return in coverage.
  • Jason Campbell can get enough time to make passes…and not throw any interceptions.
  • Vince Young doesn’t rush for more than 25 yards.

The Titans win if…

  • Chris Johnson gets more than two runs of over 10 yards or one run of over 25.
  • Vince Young gets more than four rushes of five yards or more.
  • The Titans defense can get more than three sacks.
  • The Titans are able to get one big play on special teams.

Injury Report

Raiders

Status Report
OUT
LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee)

QUESTIONABLE
DT Desmond Bryant (elbow), RB Michael Bush (thumb)

Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday
LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee)

Thursday
RB Michael Bush (thumb), LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee)

Friday
LB Travis Goethel (back), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring), WR Chaz Schilens (knee)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday
DT Desmond Bryant (elbow), RB Michael Bush (thumb)

Thursday
DT Desmond Bryant (elbow)

Friday
DT Desmond Bryant (elbow), RB Michael Bush (thumb)

Titans

Status Report
OUT
T Mike Otto (knee)

QUESTIONABLE
LB Colin Allred (ankle), DT Tony Brown (knee), G Leroy Harris (ankle), DE William Hayes (knee)

PROBABLE
DE Jacob Ford (back), WR Justin Gage (hand)

Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday
DT Tony Brown (knee), T Mike Otto (knee), LB Will Witherspoon (not injury related)

Thursday
T Mike Otto (knee), LB Will Witherspoon (not injury related)

Friday
DT Tony Brown (knee), DE William Hayes (knee), T Mike Otto (knee), LB Will Witherspoon (not injury related)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday
LB Colin Allred (ankle), DE Jacob Ford (back)

Thursday

LB Colin Allred (ankle), DE William Hayes (knee)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday
WR Justin Gage (hand), G Leroy Harris (ankle)

Thursday
DT Tony Brown (knee), DE Jacob Ford (back), WR Justin Gage (hand), G Leroy Harris (ankle)

Friday
LB Colin Allred (ankle), DE Jacob Ford (back), WR Justin Gage (hand), G Leroy Harris (ankle)

Notes

  • Since entering the NFL in 2008, Tennessee Titans running back CHRIS JOHNSON has totaled 3,997 scrimmage yards in 31 career games. With three yards from scrimmage on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, Johnson will reach 4,000 scrimmage yards in his 32nd career game, placing him tied for the third-fewest games to reach the milestone.

The players who reached 4,000 scrimmage in the fewest games:

PLAYER TEAM GAMES
Eric Dickerson Los Angeles Rams 30
Edgerrin James Indianapolis Colts 30
Clinton Portis Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins 31
Billy Sims Detroit Lions 32
Ricky Williams New Orleans Saints 34
Herschel Walker Dallas Cowboys 34
  • Johnson has rushed for 100+ yards in 11 consecutive games. With a 100-yard effort on Sunday, Johnson will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MARCUS ALLEN for the second-longest streak in NFL history (12). Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS holds the NFL record with 14 consecutive 100+ rushing yard games.

The players with the most consecutive 100-yard rushing games in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM YEAR(S) CONSECUTIVE 100+ RUSHING YARD GAMES
Barry Sanders Detroit 1997 14
Marcus Allen LA Raiders 1985-86 11
Chris Johnson Tennessee 2009-Present 11*
Walter Payton Chicago 1985 9
Fred Taylor Jacksonville 2000 9
Deuce McAllister New Orleans 2003 9
Larry Johnson Kansas City 2005 9
LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego 2006 9

*Active

  • The Raiders lead the all-time series 23-18 going back to the start of the AFL in 1960. The Raiders are also 4-0 against the Titans in playoff games.
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