To win a tough game on the road in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans, it’s all about your Oakland Raiders taking advantage of some marquee matchups. Sizing up the opposition is a great exercise, especially entering this Week 1 game with the Titans.
Both teams are poised to reach the AFC playoffs. Maybe they will meet again on wild card weekend, the divisional round or maybe even the AFC Championship? That’s why we play the games. Anything can happen. What we do know about this game is that both rosters are chock full of great talents across the gridiron.
Watching great-on-great almost always yields a highly competitive game. Oakland and Tennessee have two of the best offensive lines in football, solid offensive weaponry and two of the best young quarterbacks in the game in Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota.
To win this game, it will come down to the one-on-one matchups. Though there are so many to chose from, these five might be the most interesting. Expect this game to be decided in the trenches, as well as through pass defense.
5. Justin Ellis vs. Ben Jones
The Titans have a dominating offensive line. While much is made of their terrific tackle tandem in Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan, they have an underrated center in Ben Jones. Jones has 59 starts in 80 career games over five seasons between the Houston Texans and the Titans. The former Georgia product has brought stability to the interior of the Titans’ offensive front.
Last year, Jones garnered an 83.0 overall grade by Pro Football Focus. That was his best mark as a professional. His best season prior to his first with the Titans last year was a 76.1 with the 2014 Texans. Jones is settling right in there on an excellent Titans offensive line.
Competing opposite of him will be Raiders nose tackle Justin Ellis. Ellis has 27 starts in 44 games over the last three years with the Raiders. Though it was a bit of a down year for him, as he only mustered a 63.3 grade from PFF, that might prove to be an anomaly. Ellis had at least a 76.0 grade from PFF his first two years in the league.
Overall, it’s safe to say that these two interior linemen are evenly matched. Ellis will also have to account for Tennessee’s starting guards in Josh Kline and Quinton Spain. Both of whom graded favorably by PFF last year. It’ll be a tough game in the trenches for Ellis, but he’s coming off a really strong preseason. Let’s see what he can do with the offensive interior of Tennessee.