After an off-season full of Marshawn Lynch, Gareon Conley, Reggie McKenzie and now Sebastian Janikowski drama, football is finally here. Real regular season football! Last year, Derek Carr and the gang pulled off a dramatic win against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in week one, this year? It’s Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. Here’s are the Oakland Raiders keys to victory for week one.
Week One Oakland Raiders Keys to Victory
In order to beat Mariota and the Titans, the Raiders need to do something they couldn’t do at all outside of Khalil Mack last year, apply pressure. Nobody in the NFL registered fewer sacks than the Raiders last year, and that was a big part in why quarterbacks were able to tear the defense apart. Mariota is coming back from an injury, and even though the Titans have added to the offense with the likes of Eric Decker and Corey Davis, their quarterback hasn’t had a ton of time to mesh with them.
The best way to throw a quarterback coming back from injury off his game? Pressure him. If the Raiders can keep Mariota unsettled, it’ll be even harder for him to connect with his new weapons. Then again, pressuring a quarterback is a good idea regardless. It was a wise man that once said the “quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.”
Ironically enough, another key to victory for the Raiders is making sure that Carr stays upright. Mariota isn’t the only quarterback in this game coming back from a leg injury. Carr was hurt the exact same week, and despite an exceptional preseason, Carr hasn’t played a full game since Christmas Eve. It’s week one, so the takeaways are simple. Get Carr back in a rhythm, introduce Marshawn Lynch to the Raider Nation, and facilitate what could be the best season yet for Amari Cooper. It’ll be interesting to see just how involved Jared Cook, Clive Walford, and even Lee Smith get as well.
Divide and Conquer
One of Tennessee’s biggest problems last year was their secondary. They had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season, and while the additions of Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson can help, there’s still a lot they have to prove. One way that the Raiders could really pull away in this is to exploit this mismatch. With Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson, and the tight ends, they have no shortage of weapons. If Carr and company can spread out the offense, they can pick and choose their match-ups all afternoon long.
Just Win, Baby
The obvious keys continue, but this time, there’s more to the story. Last year, the Raiders won far too many games by the narrowest of margins. There were far too many games where the Raiders had to come back at the last minute, and as the saying goes, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. It would really cement the Raiders as legitimate contenders if they were able to play sixty minutes and earn a convincing win against a team that many are predicting to make a playoff push.