Week 3 of the NFL season features a matchup of underachieving teams in the early going as the Tennessee Titans host the Las Vegas Raiders. After both teams made the playoffs last year, they're still looking for their first win of this campaign.
These two last played three years ago when Tennessee beat the then-Oakland Raiders 42-21 in a contest that saw both Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown go over 100 yards apiece with two touchdowns. There was plenty of offense from both sides with Derek Carr accounting for two touchdowns in the loss.
Las Vegas is 0-2 after blowing a 20-point halftime lead, falling 29-23 to the Cardinals in overtime. The Raiders got a solid effort from their signal-caller as Carr went 25-of-39 for 252 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the defense that had issues down the stretch. They allowed two long drives in the fourth quarter and gave up a pair of two-point conversions to send the contest into overtime, where Las Vegas proceeded to fumble, which led to a Cardinals touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Titans got to 0-2 quite differently after getting demolished by the Bills 41-7 on "Monday Night Football." Tennessee had just 187 yards of total offense with four turnovers as Ryan Tannehill threw two interceptions and Henry ran for just 25 yards on 13 carries. The contest was actually 7-7 more than halfway through the second quarter, but the Bills reeled off 34 straight points as Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes in the victory.
Las Vegas (0-2) at Tennessee (0-2)
Three Things to Watch
As mentioned earlier, it's a short week for Tennessee coming off MNF, but they are home, so that's at least a benefit. Next up in Week 4 is a road game at the Colts as part of a stretch of two straight away from home before the bye. Of course, this team will be focused after the 0-2 start, but less prep time is a concern. On the other side, you have to wonder if there's any residue from the Raiders' tough loss to the Cardinals at home. Vegas hosts the Broncos in a big divisional game in Week 4, but much like their opponent, priority No. 1 is adding a victory to the win column this week.
2. King Henry downgraded
Henry has not been able to get a lot going on the ground for the Titans. The running back is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry (34 att., 107 yds.) and has not had a rush over 20 yards yet this season. The departure of Brown has meant that teams stack the box more than usual since they no longer fear Tennessee on the outside. Plus, Tennessee's offensive line has taken a step back — left tackle Taylor Lewan's season-ending knee injury doesn't help — and is not opening as many holes as it used to. There could be some opportunities for them this week, though, after Arizona had over five yards per carry against the Raiders.
3. Park the Carr in the end zone
Through two games this season, we've seen two different Carrs. In Week 1, he threw three interceptions in a loss to the Chargers in which almost half of his throws went to new acquisition Davante Adams (10 rec., 141 yds.). The next week saw Carr spread the ball out a lot more, take just one sack, and go turnover-free, but it still led to a loss. Carr is a solid quarterback who has a wealth of weapons besides Adams, including Hunter Renfrow, who had the game-losing fumble, and Darren Waller, who is one of the best tight ends when healthy. Tennessee has been vulnerable through the air with both Daniel Jones and Josh Allen accounting for multiple passing touchdowns.
I wasn't a believer in the Raiders before the season, and I don't think I'm a believer here. The Titans have the better coach and good players around their lineup that will help them snap out of this early losing streak. That's not to say Vegas won't put up a fight, but I think the home team gets the victory and gets back on track even for just one week.
Prediction: Titans 24, Raiders 20
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.
*Price as of publication.