FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets will be welcomed to the unwelcoming Black Hole, home of the Oakland Raiders, as they kick off the west coast swing of a grueling three-game road trip. Already without All-Pro center Nick Mangold for the road trip, the Jets cannot be caught looking ahead to their tougher games against Baltimore and New England.
A Rob Ryan and Nnamdi Asomugha-less Raiders team still have an aggressive, physical defense led by a their front seven. Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Ronaldo McClain and Kamerion Wimbley will be zeroing in on an offensive line that is weak up the middle. Pressure up the middle is the last thing a quarterback wants, so something tells me you won’t find Mark Sanchez ‘hot dogging’ it on the sidelines this year.
WHEN: Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 4 p.m. EST (Can bee seen on CBS or heard on 1050 ESPN Radio).
WHERE: Oakland Coliseum / Oakland, CA (capacity: 63, 132)
SERIES HISTORY: 38th meeting; Raiders lead 20-15-2
LAST MEETING: Jets 38 – Raiders 0 @ Oakland Coliseum on 10/25/09
NOTABLE: The Jets have won four of the last five contests between these two former AFL rivals, scoring 23-or-more points in each of the four victories. In the last game, New York earned a 38-0 win and rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns on 54 carries (5.9 avg.). The team finished with two 100-yard rushers, Thomas Jones (26-121-1) and Shonn Greene (19-144-2). It was the first 100-yard game of Greene’s career. Two of the last five games have extended into overtime with the teams splitting victories. The Jets won a 27-24 tilt (11/9/03) and Oakland outlasted the Jets 16-13 (10/19/08), with both games occurring
- JETS — OFFENSE; 29.5 PPG (7th), 321.5 Total Yards PG (21st), 78.0 Rush Yards PG (28th), 248.5 Pass Yards PG (13th), 34.6% 3rd Downs (21st), 5 Sacks Allowed (17th T). DEFENSE; 13.5 PPG (3rd), 296.5 Total Yards PG (8th), 88.0 Rush Yards PG (9th), 208.5 Pass Yards PG (11th), 6 Sacks (6th T), 29.2% 3rd Downs (4th).
- RAIDERS — OFFENSE; 29.0 PPG (8th), 371.5 Total Yards PG (12th), 211.0 Pass Yards PG (23rd), 160.5 Rush Yards PG (4th), 1 Sack Allowed (2nd T), 50% 3rd Downs (6th T). DEFENSE; 29.0 PPG (26th T), 395.5 Total Yards PG (25th), 268.0 Pass Yards PG (21st), 127.5 Rush Yards PG (27th), 5 Sacks (14th T), 41.7% 3rd Downs (20th T).
- JETS — Rex Ryan, 3rd season / 22-12 regular season /4-2 postseason
- RAIDERS — Hue Jackson, first season / 1-1 regular season
INJURY REPORT: (as of 9/23/11)
- JETS — OUT – Nick Mangold (ankle), Logan Payne (wrist), Robert Turner (leg); QUESTIONABLE – Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder); PROBABLE – Mike DeVito (shoulder), Marcus Dixon (knee), David Harris (toe), Santonio Holmes (quad), Jim Leonhard (hamstring), Derrick Mason (knee), Mark Sanchez (right elbow), Eric Smith (ankle).
- RAIDERS — OUT – Louis Murphy (groin), Jacoby Ford (hamstring), Michael Mitchell (knee); QUESTIONABLE – DeMarcus Van Dyke (knee); PROBABLE – Kevin Boss (knee), Jerome Boyd (knee), Jason Campbell (foot), Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), Sebastian Janikowski (left foot), Chris Johnson (groin), Darren McFadden (shoulder).
- Raiders DTs vs. Colin Baxter — A fairly obvious, but very key match-up. Seymour and Kelly are savvy veterans that are scary good in the middle. The Jets are saying all the right things to instill confidence in the rookie Baxter, but expect them to give him all the help he may require — sliding Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore in the middle for extra protection. Sending that extra protection may create holes for MIKE McClain up the middle or leave a one-on-one match-up for Wimbley on the outside.
- Jets OLB vs. Darren McFadden/Michael Bush — The Jets should be fine in man coverage against these young Raider wideouts. The real problem will be stopping Oakland’s dual-headed monster out of the backfield. Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and Jamaal Westerman are very good at stopping the run from the edge, but covering a back in the flats? Not as much. McFadden and Bush are lightning quick can turn a screen pass into a 50-yard play in a blink of an eye. The solution might be to play more nickel and dime packages, however that may leave the the defense to spread out to stop the run.
- Plaxico Burress vs. Raiders’ Man Coverage — It’s no secret by now that Burress was without a reception last week. And it’s also no secret the Jets are aware of the man coverage the Raiders play in their secondary. Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller should still be Mark Sanchez’s go-to targets but Burress’s height in man coverage should be taken advantage of in the red zone. More on Burress in JI’s Friday Fantasy Focus.
- Jason Campbell, QB, Raiders — The ground game of McFadden and Bush are going to be the main focus for both the Raiders offense and the Jets defense. If Campbell can pass on Antonio Cromartie — the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week — and Darrelle Revis, he can give his team a shot at stealing one at home. He has to hold on to the ball and have a smart game plan in place. Tight end Kevin Boss needs to be a priority in order for this to happen.
- Shonn Greene, RB, Jets — The team has averaged just 78 rushing yards over their first two games. That’s a huge problem for a Ryan-coached team. Yes, Greene did have a touchdown last week, but that was a gift via Cromartie’s interception return to the one-yard line. Greene had a great game last time at the Coliseum and would make a victory this week a lot easier with his ground game. A problem I see so far is that the Jets are really going with Greene as a feature back — something they haven’t done with Ryan. Tomlinson gets a couple carries, but is primarily used as a receiver out of the backfield. The offense needs another running back to step up to take pressure off Greene. (Hello Joe McKnight?)
THE PREDICTION: Jets 24 — Raiders 17. A lot of Jets fan see this game as a cake walk, cleverly naming Oakland as the #OverRaiders on Twitter. But I don’t see this as that easy of the game. The loss of Mangold will show. And the Raider offense will move enough to be in range for Sebastian Janikowski’s leg (which is practically anywhere after the 50).