Raiders-Titans Preview

BY foxsports • November 25, 2015

As poorly as the Oakland Raiders have played over the last three weeks, they still find themselves in a better overall state than the lowly Tennessee Titans.

The Raiders can avoid a fourth consecutive defeat by handing the Titans their 11th straight home loss Sunday.

Three weeks ago, Oakland (4-6) was coming off a second consecutive victory and even talking playoffs. But the Raiders haven't won since and find themselves behind three 5-5 teams in the race for the AFC's final wild-card spot.

''It's definitely a time when guys are starting to realize that we're getting into desperate needs now,'' cornerback David Amerson said.

''We need to start putting together some wins, start stacking them up. Time's getting short. You're getting toward the bottom of the season and right now it's starting to get the mentality of all or nothing.''

The Raiders have missed the playoffs for 12 straight seasons.

''It's important that we not look at (extending the playoff drought),'' coach Jack Del Rio said. ''When you deal with adversity like we are, when you drop a few in a row, you have to be able to get up, dust yourself off and move forward."

After averaging 35.3 points during a three-game stretch Oct. 25-Nov. 8, Oakland has totaled 27 in the last two. Perhaps more disconcerting, the Raiders were held to a season-low 214 yards in last Sunday's 18-13 loss to a Detroit team that allowed an average of 384.2 prior to the contest.

Derek Carr failed to throw a touchdown for the first time since Week 1 and rookie Amari Cooper managed one catch on four targets for four yards. Latavius Murray has been held to 76 yards on 25 carries in the last two games.

''You are what you earn, right?'' Del Rio said. ''We could talk about potential. Potential doesn't win games. Production wins games. It's a bottom-line business, it's a production-based business. We expect to be better than we were.''

The Raiders were better defensively last weekend after giving up 68 points the previous two games. However, they didn't force a turnover for the second straight contest and allowed the Lions to go 80 yards in nine plays for the go-ahead score early in the fourth.

''There are times where you hit these patches, and that's life," Carr said. "That's this league and that's football. But there's no doubt in our mind what we're capable of."

Though it's dropped three straight in the series, Oakland should feel it is capable of besting these Titans (2-8). Tennessee returns from its bye week tied for the worst record in the NFL and looking for its first home victory since Oct. 12 of last year.

An 11th straight home loss would tie for the third-longest skid in league history.

The Titans are 1-2 under coach Mike Mularkey, who isn't guaranteed to have the job after this season. That uncertainty and the lack of positive results has left Tennessee with what linebacker Derrick Morgan called a ''mounting level'' of frustration.

''We are not giving in by any means,'' Mularkey said. ''There has been no sign of that ... (Titans fans) got a team that wants to win worse than they do and a staff that does too, so we'll represent this city and this organization, I can promise you, as well as we can."

The Titans are last in the AFC with 18.2 points per game and have totaled 23 in two games following a 34-28 overtime win at New Orleans on Nov. 8. They could receive a boost with receiver Kendall Wright expected to return after missing the last three with a knee injury.

''I just want to be a spark, just be out there helping my teammates,'' said Wright, who has 28 receptions for 343 yards and three touchdowns.

Mularkey has shuffled personnel on the offensive line to better protect rookie Marcus Mariota after he was sacked four times in last Thursday's 19-13 loss at Jacksonville, bringing his total to 24. Mariota has not thrown a TD since tossing four against the Saints, but did run for Tennessee's lone touchdown last week.

Versatile Titans running back Dexter McCluster will miss this contest with a knee injury, meaning Antonio Andrews and rookie David Cobb could see more time. Andrews averaged 5.2 yards per carry while gaining 78 against the Jaguars.

Oakland has yielded 6.0 per carry while giving up 567 rushing yards in the last three contests.