RAIDERS 31, TITANS 24
Oakland likes to turn a big game into a war of words, the angle on Sunday's meeting with the Jets having been: Look how wonderful everyone says they are. Who have they beaten? But Tennessee offers the Raiders no hook upon which to hang their trash talk. The Titans are simply a tough, hardworking crew that outlasts the opposition. Maybe Oakland was trying to send some kind of message, but in the first half against the Jets, the Raiders got away from their multiple-passing attack and decided they would establish the ground game. This bit of foolishness landed them in a 10-10 dogfight, but they reverted to form after intermission and aired if out. The Gnat Attack will be swarming against Tennessee, so it'll be up to the Titans to slow it down or try to turn the game into a shootout. They don't have enough weapons to do the latter, and they'll slow down Oakland only with a serious pass rush on Rich Gannon. The Titans' front four is O.K.—though
defensive end Jevon Kearse. back from a broken left foot, is still not a serious factor—but Tennessee will have to commit to the blitz and hope that its cover people can lock on tight. The biggest problem for the Titans is that they're banged up after that overtime teeth-gnasher against the Steelers. I think they'll stay with the Raiders for a while and then wear down.