The Oakland Raiders travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey to face off against the host New York Jets on Sunday in an early game. It’s their second visit there this season, they faced off and lost to the New York Giants, 24-20 on November 10th.
Oakland is coming into the game with a less than gaudy 4-8 record and coming off a 31-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. New York is 5-7 and they lost to Miami, 23-3 last week. They have not scored a touchdown in their last two games (mustering just a field goal in both contests) and are averaging 6.7 points per game during their three game losing streak.
The Raiders have had trouble in recent years traveling to the East Coast, they have 12-game losing streak in games played in the Eastern time zone.
“I think we understand the challenge that’s set forth in front of us,” Head Coach Dennis Allen told Raiders.com. “We have to go travel to the Eastern Time zone and try to win a football game. Our guys understand that and they’re prepared for that and ready for that. It’ll be a tough football game.”
Head coach Dennis Allen doesn’t expect this to be an easy game for the road warriors.
“This is a team that that’s obviously played really well on defense,” Allen told Raiders.com. “Their catalyst for their defense is really their front seven. They do a great job of stopping the run. They’re able to get after the passer. They have a multitude of looks that they have on defense that create some challenges for us offensively. Offensively, it’s a football that they’re 10th in the league in rushing the football, so obviously it’ll start there. We’re going to have to be able to stop the run defensively and be able to get off the field on 3rd down. That’ll be crucial for us. We have to do some things in the kicking game to try to win the field position. They’ve got a good football team and it’ll be a challenge for us.”
The Raiders strength is their running game, they are averaging 133.1 yards per game (5th in the NFL) and that plays into the Jets defensive strength, their run defense. NY is allowing 77 yards per game, 1st in the League. Oakland running back Rashad Jennings passed his concussion tests and has returned to practice and will most likely start. Jennings has been one of the few bright spots for the Raiders.
He led the League with 569 yards from scrimmage in the month of November (448 of those were rushing yards) and has emerged as a more than capable replacement for often injured running back Darren McFadden (out with an ankle injury). Jeremy Stewart is also out with knee and ankle injuries. Former RB Taiwan Jones has been switched from cornerback to help add some depth in the backfield.
Oakland’s undrafted rookie quarterback Matthew McGloin has claimed the starting job and seems unwilling to give it back to Terrelle Pryor. McGloin has proven to be more careful with the ball than Pryor was, he has thrown just two interceptions in 94 passes as a starter. He’s not as mobile as Pryor and as likely to make plays with his feet, but he is an asset in the passing game, something they lacked with Pryor. He has a quick release and has only been sacked two times in four games.
The Raiders have averaged 237.3 yards through the air with McGloin slinging the ball downfield. The Jets are allowing 256.8 yards per game, 25th. So, McGloin should be able to continue his solid play.
“I see a guy that makes a lot of quick decisions with the football,” NYJ head coach Rex Ryan told Raiders.com. “He’s accurate and he’s very poised. I see a guy that has outstanding fundamentals and plays smart. It seems like it’s coming out quick and he knows where to go with the football.”
Speedster Denarius Moore’s absence (shoulder injury) may have led to Oakland finding a hidden gem. Former Cowboy Andre Holmes had a huge game against Dallas on Turkey day when he caught 7 passes for 136 yards. At 6-feet-4 and 210 ppounds, he’s a big receiver like Rod Streater (6-3 and 210 pounds). Holmes had just two receptions last year in his rookie season with the Cowboys. McGloin targeted him 11 times (Jacoby Ford had the next most targets with just five) in the passing game and seems to have developed some chemistry with him. Streater is the other starter and gives McGloin two players he can choose to throw when they are in the Red Zone.
Geno Smith has been a turnover machine for NY in his rookie campaign and he was finally benched last week in favor of Matt Simms, but he will start again this week. Geno has struggled as he has been learning on the job, he hasn’t thrown a touchdown in 5 straight games and has just eight TD’s while he has thrown 19 interceptions. And he’s a huge reason their takeaway differential (through Week) 13 is -18.
However, the Raiders aren’t going to just come into this game expecting for him to choke another game away with turnovers.
“I see a guy with tremendous athletic ability,” Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver told Raiders.com “He has a strong arm. He’s like a lot of young quarterbacks in that there are times where the game moves really slowly for him, and there are times when it moves fast. I hope we can make it move fast, but he can make all the throws. He moves well enough. He’s got the skills and things to be a good player.”
Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory power a NY running game that can take pressure off Smith if effective. Chris Ivory ran for 139 yards against the New Orleans Saints in their surprising 26-20 win, before the three game losing streak. They are 10th with 124.7ypg, but the turnovers have stopped them from scoring much in the way of points. They are averaging just 15.8 points per game, 31st. The only team that is worse at scoring points is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Prediction: Raiders win, 24-17.
-The Raiders lead the all-time series, 20-15-2 and won their last meeting, 34-24, in Oakland in 2011.
Tiny URL for this post: