It’s Week 12 in the NFL and the Tennessee Titans travel to take on the Oakland Raiders. Both teams are part of a group of 6 teams just 1 game out of the last playoff spot in the AFC. With only six games remaining in the 2013 season, anything can happen. As Matt McGloin prepares for his second NFL start, lets take a look at some of the key matchups in this game.
Rookie QB vs. the Blitz
So far this season McGloin has dropped back to pass 49 times, 15 of those coming against the Eagles. Of those 49 drop backs, he’s been blitzed 17 times, about 1 in every 3. Against the blitz McGloin completed 35% of those passes with a 63.6 QB rating. Not very good. But he also has 1 touchdown, no interceptions and no sacks against those 17 blitzes. Which is encouraging. But like everyone says, in the NFL, when you show to not be very good at something, they will keep doing it, until you prove otherwise. Look for the Texans to bring the blitz early and often. It will be up to McGloin to make they pay with some big plays down the field against man coverage.
Lucas Nix vs. Jurrell Casey
Left Guard Lucas Nix is the Raiders worst rated O-Lineman in the Pro Football Focus rankings. Right Defensive Tackle Jurrell Casey is the Titans best rated D-Lineman by PFF. He leads the Titans defense with 7 sacks and 26 QB hurries. As Lucas Nix leads the Raiders in giving up 5 sacks and 28 QB hurries. This has disaster written all over it.
Raiders run defense vs. Chris Johnson
While CJ2K has not had a great year, he is quietly closing in on a 1000 yard season and is always a threat to take it to the house. The Raiders are still allowing under 100 yards a game and have not allowed a run longer than 32 yards. But they allowed Ben Tate and his broken ribs some open lanes last week. They need to not allow that this week or it might cost them 6 points.
Jason Tarver vs Ryan Fitzpatrick
Tarver has been doing a good job this year mixing his defenses and confusing quarterbacks. This week he will be up against the Harvard Alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Not sure how much Tarver will blitz, since Fitzpatrick has a 98.9 QB rating against the blitz. Strangely his rating drops to 78.3 against no blitz. Will be interesting to see the coverages and schemes Tarver shows this week.
This is a very winnable game for the Raiders. I think this Titans defense has more playmakers than the Texans defense and provides a tougher challenge for the offensive line. I expect the Raiders defense to be able to control the line of scrimmage and force some 3rd and longs. I’m looking forward to the matchup and seeing if the Raiders can win back to back games for the first time this year. If they can win the turnover battle, they will win this game.