A pair of surprisingly winless teams hope to end their misery at the other’s expense when the Las Vegas Raiders face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon at Nashville, Tenn.
The clubs will be meeting for the first time since 2019, when Ryan Tannehill threw for three touchdowns and Derrick Henry ran for another two in a 42-21 Titans win in the Raiders’ final season in Oakland.
The recent series has been dominated by the road team, with the visitor having won five in a row, including the Raiders’ last three visits to Nashville.
The last time the home team won in the rivalry was in 2010, when Vince Young and Jason Campbell were the starting quarterbacks in a 38-13 Tennessee win.
Each team has opened this season without home-field success, with the Titans getting shocked 21-20 by the New York Giants in Week 1, before the Raiders were overtaken by the Arizona Cardinals in a 29-23 overtime defeat last Sunday.
While Las Vegas has lost its first two games by a total of 11 points, Tennessee followed up its narrow defeat at the hands of the Giants by being shellacked 41-7 at Buffalo on Monday night.
The primary goal this week at Titans practices: Erase the nationally televised embarrassment from their memories.
“Brutal. I haven’t been part of a whole lot of games like that,” Tannehill insisted. “But we have a lot of football in front of us. We can’t sit around and have a woe-is-me attitude. We have to be able to turn the page.”
The Titans have yet to get Henry rolling. The NFL’s leading rusher in two of the last three seasons has totaled just 107 yards and one touchdown in his first two outings of 2022.
Tennessee went 18-3 when Henry rushed for 100 or more yards in the last three regular seasons. His high so far this year is 82.
The Raiders likewise would like to forget a Week 2 nightmare, but not all of it. They were on top of their game while running up a 20-0 halftime lead over the Cardinals, only to get outscored 29-3 the rest of the way, including 22-0 in the final 8:13 of regulation and 5:55 of overtime.
Arizona’s winning score came on a fumble return, but Raiders defense coordinator Patrick Graham recognizes his unit was on the field for a majority of the Cardinals’ comeback, which was led by quarterback Kyler Murray.
The Raiders are preparing for a different type of attack this week from Henry.
“This is going to be fun because he challenges you,” Graham said. “The combination of him, the offensive line, I think the toughness of that whole team, that whole organization starting with (coach Mike) Vrabel, J-Rob (general manager Jon Robinson) … It’s going to be football. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Raiders hope to protect quarterback Derek Carr better this week after he’s been sacked six times in the first two games. To that end, they made a trade Wednesday, acquiring offensive tackle Justin Herron from the New England Patriots for a reported sixth-round pick.
Herron played for current Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels when he was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator the last two years.
The Titans have issues at offensive tackle as well, with standout Taylor Lewan having suffered a knee injury in Monday’s loss. He didn’t participate in Wednesday’s walkthrough and is expected to be a game-time decision Sunday.
Also not participating were Ugo Amadi (ankle), outside linebacker Bud Dupree (hip) and offensive lineman Jamarco Jones (triceps).
For the Raiders, center Andre James and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow were both non-participants due to concussions. Safety Tre’von Moehrig (hip), linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle), defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (shoulder) also sat out due to injuries.