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 it 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. --P.Z.
COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER Charlie Garner is a running and receiving threat for the Raiders.