Sitting at 6-4, the Oakland Raiders head to New York with playoff dreams on their mind…
Teams: Oakland Raiders (6-4) @ New York Jets (3-7)
Time: 10:00 AM PT
Venue: Metlife Stadium
TV/Radio: CBS, Raiders Radio Network
Raiders must avoid a trap game
At 6-4, the Raiders are sitting pretty. They scraped out a win at home against the winless Bengals last week, and they’re tied for the second wild card spot with one of the easiest remaining schedules in the NFL. Factor in a huge matchup in Kansas City next week, and it’s easy to overlook this 3-7 Jets team.
We all know the Raiders have never faired well in games with early start times, it’s long been a part of the Raiders way. Sam Darnold and the Jets have won two in a row, and they should come into this game feeling confident. Darnold has a decent chance of tearing up the Raiders’ suspect defense, and if the Raiders offensive line struggles to get going like last week, we may be in for an upset.
A chance to tie the Chiefs for the division lead…
The Raiders are 6-4. The Chiefs are 7-4. A Raiders win Sunday Makes them 7-4, and puts them in a tie for the division lead.
While the Raiders shouldn’t overlook the Jets, this is almost a must-win game for the Raiders division hopes, as they can tie the Chiefs record before a huge matchup looming next weekend.
Three Keys to Victory:
Get to Sam Darnold
The second year quarterback has struggled this year. Through seven games, Darnold holds a 63.2% completion percentage, and has thrown 11 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions. His rating for the season sits at a lowly 81.1
Darnold has had some bad games, and him “seeing ghosts” a few weeks ago highlights that. However, in the past two weeks, Darnold has thrown five touchdowns and just one pick, while posting passer ratings of 97.9 and 121.3 against the Giants and Redskins. The Raiders pass defense, on the other hand, has been nothing to brag about, and if they want to win, they’re gonna have to force Darnold to make some of the mistakes he was making earlier this season
Win the running back battle
This game will feature a handful of very talented running backs. Josh Jacobs is the consensus offensive rookie of the year through 11 weeks. DeAndre Washington is a great compliment to him as a downfield runner, and Jalen Richard is an excellent pass-catching back.
On the other hand, the Jets have one of the better running back duos in the NFL. Le’veon Bell hasn’t put up excellent stats, but we all know he’s one of the most talented guys in the league. Bilal Powell could start on most teams, and is an excellent second option for New York. The Raiders struggled to establish the line of scrimmage last Sunday, but were able to squeak out a win because it was the Bengals. It won’t be so easy this week, and whichever side is able to establish control of the line of scrimmage should control the game.
Neutralize Jamal Adams
Jamal Adams is arguably the best safety in the game, and he’s one of the few real difference makers on the Jets roster. He’s got five sacks in his last two games, and he’s also very good at defending the pass.
Adams will likely be defending Darren Waller on Sunday, who’s currently the Raiders top receiver. Gruden has been great all year at designing plays to create space for Waller, and he’ll have his work cut out for him with Adams on the other side. The offensive line is also going to need to be able to rebound and have a good performance, or Adams will be reeking havoc in the backfield. If the Raiders can contain Adams, they can dominate this game.
Injuries: (as of friday)
DNP: David Sharpe, T (out)
LP: Lamarcus Joyner, S (questionable), Josh Jacobs, RB, Rodney Hudson, C, Trent Brown, T
DNP: Matthias Farley, S (doubtful), CJ Mosley, LB (out), Daryl Roberts, CB (doubtful), Pat Worrilow, LB (doubtful)
LP: Chuma Edoga, OL (questionable), Henry Anderson, DL (questionable), Kelvin Beachum, OL (questionable), Brandon Copeland, LB (questionable), Neville Hewitt, LB (questionable), Alex Lewis, OL (questionable), Steve McLenden, DL (questionable), Demaryius Thomas, WR (questionable),
FP: Braxton Berrios, WR, Kyron Brown, CB, Sam Darnold, QB, Jordan Jenkins, LB, Arthur Maulet, CB, Kyle Phillips, DL, Nate Hairston, CB
I think the Raiders are just able to squeak out a win on the road this week. The Jets should come into this game with a lot of confidence, and this has all the makings of a trap game. The Jets give a real good fight, but the Raiders are able to pull out the victory thanks to big performances from Carr, Jacobs, and the rest of the offense.