The New York Jets are going for their third straight win on Sunday against a vulnerable Oakland Raiders team.
The Oakland Raiders come into this game hot. They have won three in a row and are looking for what many expect to be an easy fourth-straight win.
However, the Raiders don’t travel well. They’re just 1-3 on the road this year.
Better than that, they’ve only beaten one team .500 or above this year. Their last three wins have come against the Lions, Chargers and Bengals, all by just one score.
It has not been the dominant run that three-straight wins has many football fans thinking, especially when that run was against teams with a combined record of 7-23-1. That’s what the Raiders did at home against those teams.
On Sunday, they’ll have to travel cross-country to play the New York Jets. The Raiders haven’t beaten the Jets in New York since 1996 and have lost five-straight games in New Jersey. Traveling cross-country is hard and takes a lot out of teams. It’s not something to be underestimated.
This game isn’t going to be a walk in the park for the Jets, though. They’re going to have to earn this win. Lucky, for the Jets, their strengths match up perfectly to take out the Raiders.
Stop the Run
The Raiders offense starts with their run game. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs is the guy who gets everything going for them. Jacobs is on pace for 1,477 yards this season and has put up more than 110 yards four times this season.
Jacobs has faced off against three of the top 10 rush defense DVOA teams in NFL already this year. He didn’t get 90 yards in any of those games and put up a combined 195 yards on 50 carries, good enough for only 3.9 yards-per-carry.
Now, Jacobs is going up against the best rush defense in the NFL. The Jets have allowed just 2.1 yards-per-carry over the last three weeks. Two of those games came against Saquon Barkley and Adrian Peterson; the Jets held them to a combined 26 rushing yards.
Stopping the run is going to be paramount for the Jets in this game. If they can shut down Jacobs, they’ll have a chance of winning this game. The Raiders are 3-3 in games that feature Jacobs accumulating fewer than 100 yards. The Raiders are 0-2 in games Jacobs is held under 70 yards.
The Jets have only allowed 70 or more yards to a RB three times this season. In one of those games, the numbers are skewed, though. Leonard Fournette had 76 rushing yards against the Jets, but 66 of that came on one run. Over the next 18 rushes, Fournette had just 10 yards.
If the Jets can continue to show that dominance against Jacobs, the Raiders offense will lose their biggest weapon.
Limit the Raiders Tight Ends
The Raiders biggest weapon in their passing game is their tight ends, specifically, Darren Waller. Waller is having a breakout year and he’s the Raiders leading receiver.
The Jets are likely to key in on Waller and try to take him out of the game—something that very few teams have succeeded to do this year. Waller has been held under 50 yards just three times this year.
The bad news for the Raiders is that the Jets defense specializes in shutting down tight ends. No TE has had a 100-yard receiving game against the Jets this year and only one has topped 60 yards.
With the Raiders offense so focused on their tight ends and backs, the Jets defense is set up for success. They have routinely shut down those two positions throughout the season. It’s a perfect matchup for the Jets defense.
Attack the Raiders weak secondary
Sam Darnold will need to take over this game. The Raiders are one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and they’re even worse on the road. The Raiders pass defense ranks either last or second to last in nearly every category of pass defense on the road this season.
Darnold needs to take advantage of that and attack them throughout the game. The kid only has topped 300 yards passing just once this season, and if the Jets want to win this game, he’ll have to do it again.
The Raiders are just 1-2 in games in which they give up 300 yards passing this season and 2-4 in games where they give up at least 250 yards passing. The Jets passing offense has the ability to put up those numbers. They showed that last week against the Redskins defense.
Lastly, the Jets are 3-1 in games this season that features Darnold tallying two scores. The Raiders have given up at least two passing touchdowns in seven of their 10 games this year.
If the Jets are going to win this game Darnold and the passing attack is going to lead the team to victory.