Jets at Raiders
For a long time the Jets and Raiders struggled to find their star franchise quarterback. But luckily for the Raiders, that problem went away when they selected Derek Carr in the second round of the 2014 draft. Carr continues to get better and is starting to enter the conversation for one of the five best quarterbacks in the league. The Jets aren’t close to finding their quarterback of the future. For now, Josh McCown is starting under center but that could change on a week-by-week basis with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg also on the depth chart.
The Raiders’ running backs, led by Marshawn Lynch, secured the Week 1 victory against the Titans by moving the chains and killing the clock during the fourth quarter. Lynch’s return didn’t pop out on the stat sheet, but he proved he can still make quick jumps and avoid tackles. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington provided a spark when Lynch was off the field. There’s high hopes for the Jets’ Bilal Powell to be a reliable back this season. He recorded 22 yards on seven carries in a loss against the Bills last week.
Ever heard of Robby Anderson or ArDarius Stewart? Probably not. Those were the Jets’ top two receivers on Sept. 1, and obviously, they were in need of help at the position. New York traded Sheldon Richardson for Jermaine Kearse, a relaible receiver from Seattle. The Jets recently brought back Jeremy Kerley, who was inactive last week. The Raiders arguably have the best receiving corps with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
Oakland recently gave left tackle Donald Penn a two-year extension to keep one of the best lines in football together for another few years. Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele will open up holes for the running backs. But the Raiders might have concerns at right tackle after two sacks came from that side in Week 1. The Jets are hurting at offensive line and lacking talent in the trenches.
Two years ago, there could have been a case made for the Jets owning the best defensive line in the league with Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams and Richardson, who got traded this month to Seattle. Wilkerson was hampered by injuries in 2016 and Williams hasn’t produced like a top six pick yet. The Jets need Wilkernson and Williams to play lights out to have a shot at winning a few games this season. Eddie Vanderdoes had a solid debut for the Raiders last week to help out Khalil Mack, who sees a double team on nearly every snap.
Darron Lee, a first-round pick in 2016, had a quiet rookie year but could be the Jets’ most improved player this season. Lee played like a top selection against the Bills by recording 10 total tackles. The Raiders are inexperienced at linebacker outside of Bruce Irvin, but that wasn’t a problem a week ago.
The Jets might have hit a home run with taking safety Jamal Adams at No. 6 overall in the 2017 draft. New York coach Todd Bowles raved about Adams’ debut and called him a smart and physical player. Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne could be reliable cornerbacks. Raiders safeties Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson came up big in the red zone against the Titans.
Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio was the star of the game in the season opener after converting on all four of his field goal attempts. The Jets are lacking weapons at kick and punt returner.
The Oakland Coliseum should be rocking for the Raiders’ home opener, which could be trouble for a young Jets squad.
Micah Roberts (Sportsline.com): Raiders 31, Jets 23 — We’ve seen the Raiders during the Derek Carr era getting double digits during his rookie season, but this is the first time they are laying double digits. Sharp money jumped all over the Jets at plus-14 earlier in the week, and the line now is 13½. The Raiders are 5-10 against the spread at home the past two seasons.
— Gilbert Manzano, Las Vegas Review-Journal