The New York Jets have a tall task in front of them on Sunday at the hands of the Oakland Raiders. What do they need to do to win?The New York Jets suffered a season-opening loss to the Buffalo Bills by the score of 21-12. Now, Gang Green will look to avoid a 0-2 start as they travel to Oakland to face a strong Raiders team.
The Jets have faced the Raiders 45 times, including four matchups in the playoffs. It’s the Raiders who have fared the best with a record of 24-19-2.
November 11, 2015, was the last time the Jets traveled to Oakland. The Raiders soundly defeated the Jets, 34-20. New York is once again the underdogs coming into this matchup. That’s the role they will play in each and every game this season.
So how can the Jets pull off an upset this week? Let’s take a look at some of the key objectives for the Jets.
Defensively, the Jets defensive line has to generate a pass rush against Oakland’s quarterback Derek Carr. A year ago, before Carr broke his fibula, he was putting up Brady-like numbers as he passed for 3,937 yards and sported a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 28:6. He did all of this while completing 63.8 percent of his passes.
If Carr played in those final two weeks based off his average of passing yards per game — which is 262.5 — he would have thrown for 4,465 yards. That would have put him at number four in the league behind only Drew Brees, MVP of the league Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins.
There is a reason why this guy is the second highest paid quarterback in the league. He is a complete stud who has changed the fortunes of the Raiders franchise.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams and the rest of the defensive front must generate a pass rush. If they don’t, Carr can easily duplicate his performance from the last time he faced the Jets.
Last week, the defense only provided two sacks against Tyrod Taylor. The lack of pressure allowed him to throw for 224 yards. No pressure on Carr would allow him to have a field day.
Carr is surrounded by weapons. In the passing game, he has the luxury of throwing to Amari Cooper. Through two full seasons, Cooper has been over a 1,000-yard receiver and that trend should continue this year.
On top of having Cooper to throw to, Carr also has Michael Crabtree. Crabtree’s career has been reborn since joining the Raiders back in 2015. Last year, he was a 1,000 yard receiver for the second time in his career.
Carr also has a solid tight end to throw to in Jared Cook and a running back that can do this.
With all of these weapons, the Jets defense better bring it or it will be a long day for them.
In fact, Daniel Popper of NY Daily News reported that Wilkerson said, “Our room, we take a lot of pressure. Coach (meaning Todd Bowles) even called us out.” He added, “We take pride in ourselves and our work, and we definitely accepted the challenge and know we got to play better this week.”
Offensively, the Jets have to get their running game going. Last week against the Bills, they managed only 38 yards rushing. It is hard to establish any offense when the running game is taken out of the equation. It makes the offense one dimensional.
A year ago, the Raiders defense gave up the 10th most rushing yards per game, allowing 117 yards per game. They allowed 95 yards last week against the Tennessee Titans.
Getting the running game going should help to open the passing game. Last week, the passing game didn’t get anything going down the field. The Bills didn’t blitz often, as they typically just sent their four down lineman, which putting more guys in coverage. This caused Josh McCown to throw a lot of check down passes.
He wasn’t aggressive going down the field and that is something else that Coach Bowles wants to see change.
According to Calvin Watkins of Newsday, Bowles said, “He wants the offense to become more aggressive.” Also, according to Watkins, McCown responded to Coach Bowles’ comments, stating, “That’s the line we got to strike, so for myself, that’s the balance I find. The other day I felt good about the decisions other than I got out the pocket and I forced that one and it ended up being a pick.”
He added, “It’s striking that balance — when you’re smart with the football, but aggressive. I think they’ll be more opportunities for us to be aggressive as far as the plays unfold, and as a quarterback, you earn the trust by managing that appropriately, so we’ll look for that opportunity Sunday.”
Oakland’s offense is going to be able to put up points. Their defense, however, is not the strong suit of the team. They gave up the 7th most yards per game last year and 13th most points allowed. The Jets should be able to move the ball and get points on the board.
They might not have a huge amount of playmakers on offense but the ones they do have — like Bilal Powell — need to have the ball in their hands.
He didn’t have a big impact on offense against the Bills, as he only had a total of 39 yards. But if the Jets get him involved and give him some room to work, he can make plays and help put up points.
Bottom line is, I don’t see the defense slowing down the high powered offense that the Raiders have. I see the Jets losing this one 31-20.
For more on the matchup, listen to Jets Zone Podcast.