Coming off one of their most complete games in a long time, the New York Jets look to take down the red hot Oakland Raiders. The Jets are looking for their first three-game winning streak since beating the Browns for their third straight win in week five of the 2017 season. The Raiders, on the other hand, come in on a three-game winning streak of their own. They are looking to keep pace with the Chiefs in the AFC West.
Sam Darnold and the Jets Offense
Sam Darnold is coming off one of his best games as a pro, and he is looking to build on that success this week. After setting a career-high with four passing touchdowns last week, Darnold faces a Raiders defense allowing over 260 yards per game through the air. That is good for 27th in the league, and it is a perfect situation for the Jets offense to continue to build momentum.
One thing that may bother Darnold, though, is the Raider pass rush. Although they only have 25 sacks on the season, they have 12 over the last three games. That includes five in each of their previous two games against the Bengals and Chargers. This barrage of sacks has been led by rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby. The Jets offensive line is going to have to contain Crosby and company for Darnold to sustain his success.
On top of getting protection, Darnold needs Robby Anderson to get it together. I have watched Anderson run lazy routes all year, and he is not doing Darnold any favors. We have all seen what Anderson is capable of doing. He needs to put that together on a week to week basis. If he can’t do that, Jamison Crowder will continue to be Sam’s favorite target.
Where in the World is LeVeon Bell?
Le’Veon Bell disappointed yet again in a mouth-watering matchup last week. He only averaged three yards per carry against one of the worst run defenses in football. He is in another blow-up spot this week against the Raiders.
Oakland is also right in the middle of the pack in run defense, and we have yet to see the best of Le’Veon Bell. As said last week, they need to start finding better ways for him to pick up yards. Bell is averaging career lows in almost every offensive category, and I attribute about half of that to poor offensive line play and the other half to bad play calling.
Look, we all know what LeVeon Bell can do. We watched him become the best all-around running back in football when he was with Pittsburgh. The Jets are running a predictable offense that causes problems for Bell. I’d like to see him line up in the slot a little more and see what he can do from there. He is such a talented weapon, and the Jets need to design plays for him and keep him involved.
The President of the Jets
It doesn’t seem so crazy that Jamal Adams compared himself to guys like Aaron Donald and Tom Brady a couple of weeks ago. After being the center of trade rumors, Adams was understandably upset, but boy has he responded. Adams had three sacks last week to get within two of the single-season record for a defensive back. Adams has been playing out of his mind lately. He has inserted himself square in the middle of the best safety in the NFL conversation.
It seems like the rest of the defense feeds off of Adams because he has not been the only one who has stepped up over the last two weeks. Bless Austin, a sixth-round draft pick this year has been more than a pleasant surprise for this Jets team. He has been a legit shutdown corner over the last two games allowing a quarterback rating of only 47.9. Adams has been a great leader for a guy like this, and now it looks like the two of them may hold this secondary down for a long time.
Sack Lunch Baby!
As Eric Mintzer pointed out in his recap, the Jets had only nine sacks through their first seven games. Over their last three games, they have 16 sacks. The difference? Leonard Williams. All 16 of those sacks came after the Jets traded Williams to the Giants. His departure has allowed Greg Williams to be creative, leading to Adams picking up three sacks against the Skins.
The Jets need to put this kind of pressure on Derek Carr, and either sack him or force him into some turnovers. Derek Carr is close to the top of plenty of passing categories, and the Jets need to take him out of his rhythm early and often. Pressure is the easiest way to do that, and Williams is going to need to dial up some creative looks to make this happen.
Stop the Rookie
Josh Jacobs has not only been one of the best rookies but one of the best running backs in all of football. Jacobs is fourth in the league in rushing yards, and he is in the top five of numerous other rushing categories. He has been unbelievable all year long, and it will be one of the best tests the Jets face this year. I mentioned last week how good the Jets run defense has been. Well, they need to be better than that against a guy like this. Missed tackles will kill them more than usual this week. Jacobs is the real deal, and if the Jets cannot contain him, it is going to be a very long day.
If they can contain Jacobs, the defensive gameplan becomes much easier to execute.
I think Jacobs will have his worst game as a pro as the Jets defense comes up big. Jamal Adams will pick up at least one sack as the Jets will get to three or four total. On offense, Darnold will likely have another big game. Quick passes will be the order of the day to beat the Raiders pass rush. So you can expect another big game from Crowder as well. The Jets will squeak out a close one on a field goal with less than three minutes left.
Jets 27 Raiders 24