Keeping Gang Green in a black hole. That’s what the Oakland Raiders will want to do in order to keep the Jets from running away with this Sunday’s game the way New Orleans did in during its 34-3 trouncing last week. Even though the Jets (3-2) have been clicking on the defense and in the passing game, it’ll be crucial for the defense to stop the three-headed monster of RB’s Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas, and Michael Bush.
LB Calvin Pace knows that the Raiders will try to establish the run early, due to the struggles of their rocket-armed QB JaMarcus Russell.
“They are going to really establish the run, honestly,” Pace said. “I think they average around (141) yards per game. They had a game where they had 300 yards rushing (at Kansas City). I think they are doing that very well right now.”
The Raiders 1-4 record says different. But that doesn’t mean they can’t come out and have a huge game the way the Cleveland Browns did against the New York Giants Monday night. Oakland has proven that they can execute when balanced.
“They are a very physical team. If they can get the running game started, that is exactly what they want to do so we have to affect that and go out there and disrupt them in the passing game,” Pace said. “We want to make their life uncomfortable.”
Disrupting the passing game may not be a problem for Gang Green. The Raiders offense is ranked 23th in passing; an abysmal rating with a former first round pick at the helm. But then again, Gang Green is ranked 28th in passing defense.
So far this season, all but two opposing quarterback has thrown more than 250 yards against the Jets. Chad Pennington threw for 251 yards in the opener, Matt Cassel logged 165 yards in the home opener, Philip Rivers threw for 250 yards in Week 3, Kurt Warner chucked 472 yards in Week 4 and Ryan Fitzpatrick had 153 yards in Week 6.
“I think we've done some good things,” head coach Eric Mangini said. “We’ve made some improvements with completion percentage with interceptions. It's like anything else; we're trying to get better. The secondary will play better, too, as the rush continues to improve.”
The Jets have yet to face a running game besides San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson who posed a serious threat. The Jets run defense has been stellar so far this year anchored by DE Shaun Ellis with stop gap NT Kris Jenkins on the line. The Raiders run offense consists of three players who can all execute the big run play at any time. The Jets are ranked third against the run.
“You do what you can regardless of whatever it is whether it’s making a play, doing something so someone else can make a play, whatever you have to do to help your group out, that’s what you do,” Jenkins said. “I look at it like we’re the front line of defense, so we have to go out there and we have to make a solid stance.”
It’ll be interesting to see whether that stance will hold up against the fourth ranked rushing offense.
Injury Report: as of 10/16
Out: K Mike Nugent (thigh)
Limited in Practice: WR David Clowney (shoulder), LB Calvin Pace (foot), WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), NT Kris Jenkins (back), Bryan Thomas (calf).
Full Participation in Practice: DB Justin Miller (foot).
Jets ‘O’ v. Raiders ‘D’
If there’s anytime that Brett Favre should have another huge passing game, it’s Sunday. The secondary of the Raiders hasn’t stopped anyone during the first six weeks of the season, giving up an average 234 yards per game and have given up 16 plays of 20+ yards. Look for Jerricho Cotchery to catch some deep balls Sunday.
Jets ‘D’ v. Raiders ‘O’
A tougher decision than one may think. Yes the Jets have a great run defense, but the Raiders have a 1-2-3 punch that rivals most of the running back tandems in the league. Sunday will be a good test for both teams in this aspect. And if JaMarcus Russell decides to have “that game” against a sketchy Jets secondary, look out.
Logic would say that as long as the Jets stop the run, it should end in a fourth win for Gang Green. But if the Jets decide to play down to its competition instead of vice versa, Jets’ fans watching on the east coast are going to be grabbing for the Tylenol and Advil. The Jets need to use this game to get TE Dustin Keller involved. A player who was hyped up to rival TE Antonio Gates out of San Diego has been non-existent.
Prediction: Jets 28, Raiders 10
Game time is at 4:15 local time on CBS TV. Local radio is on 1050 AM ESPN and 103.9 WRCN Long Island. Be sure to log on to JI after the game for a complete recap!
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