The Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to bounce back after being embarrassed in Atlanta. The Silver & Black face off against an 0-11 New York Jets squad. This is going to be a must-win, especially since the Raiders are favored by 8.5 points.
The Jets are an awful team in almost every phase of the game. Their defense is bad, the offense is worse, and coaching somehow finds a way to top them. Last week, Atlanta was actually pretty good in terms of defense and coaching against the Raiders. Sure, this Las Vegas team played their worst football last week but there’s no excuse whatsoever to fall to the Jets. Still, there must be a plan made on how to beat teams, and here are three things the Raiders can do to make this a worry-free game.
1. Devontae Booker must play well in Josh Jacobs’ place
When the Raiders won three straight between Weeks 8-10, they ran for 572 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. However, they have only rushed for 129 yards in the last two games. Last week was truly damaging as they were only able to muster 2.9 yards-per-carry. This week, Devontae Booker will be taking the load for Jacobs (knee).
The offensive line should play better than last week but the ‘Gang Green’ is actually pretty good against the run, and rank 11th in total rushing yards. Booker is still more than capable of turning in a good performance as he’s averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry. He also displays a nice burst and impressive strength like Jacobs. The run game is vital to the team’s game plan and if Booker can be on par with how Jacobs usually plays, the Raiders will be fine.
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2. The defense must give the Jets a lot of trouble
While the Raiders played some terrible football last week, the defense wasn’t so deserving of much blame. They were actually the main reason why the Raiders weren’t down by 20 points in the first half. This week will be a great opportunity to bounce back, as quarterback Sam Darnold has actually looked worse than Joe Flacco this year. New York’s offensive line is mediocre and Jamison Crowder is probably their best weapon. Clelin Ferrell is expected to come back which will provide a huge boost to the defensive line.
One issue this team will have to conquer is playing without Johnathan Abram. His presence will be missed but as explained already, this is a bad offense with limited weapons. Something else that will be nice to see pan out is the linebacker group. Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow have performed well. On the other hand, Littleton has a chance to prove himself as well with a lackluster performance so far.
3. Keep the penalties down
Through the first nine games of the season, the Raiders were only penalized 4.8 times a game. They have averaged nine penalties since then. If there is something that can throw a game completely off-course, it’s penalties. They prevented a potential touchdown drive for the Raiders and enabled several drives for the Falcons. They will have to use this game as a way to work on playing more disciplined football. If they can stay at five or below this game, it will surely be a step in the right direction for this team to make a run into the playoffs.
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*Top Photo: Ashley Landis/Associated Press