The Raiders passed their first test of the season, going on the road to beat an up-and-coming Tennessee Titans team, 26-16. Now, they come home to face a reeling New York Jets team that lost their opener to the Buffalo Bills, 21-12.
As much as they face the Jets, the Raiders may also be facing complacency as the Jets may be one of the worst teams in football this year. And as much as beating a good Titans team on the road, maybe even more telling will be the Raiders performance against a bad team.
The Raiders opened in Las Vegas as a 14 point favorite, but that number has been bet down to 10 by Thursday.
The Raiders’ offense did what it was supposed to do against the Titans. Derek Carr threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns with a 114.3 quarterback rating. Even better was Marshawn Lynch running for 76 yards on 18 carries, a strong performance after sitting out a year. Michael Crabtree had six catches for 83 yards to lead the team and Amari Cooper caught a touchdown pass, as did Seth Roberts.
But those numbers were expected, although it would have been hard to forecast new kicker Giorgio Tavecchio’s four field goals made.
The big tell was the Raiders defense against the Marcus Mariotta-led Titans offense. Allowing only 16 points was better than expected. Safeties Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson had nine and eight tackles, respectively, to lead the team. Khalil Mack was his normal disruptive self with two tackles for loss and Mario Edwards Jr. and Justin Ellis shared a sack. Tennessee was held under a 100 yards in rushing.
The Jets pose a different set of problems against the Raiders defense than the Titans. Journeyman Josh McCown leads the offense. That pretty much sums up the offensive potential. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are serviceable backs and receivers Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse don’t inspire fear.
If the Raiders don’t dominate defensively, then there’s a problem.
On defense, the Jets had problems stopping the run and the pass, which doesn’t bode well against a strong Raiders offense. The Jets gave up 189 rushing yard, so expect Lynch, Richard and Washington to run freely. The Raiders strong offensive line faces off against the strength of the Jets defense in ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams.
The Jets defensive backfield is shaky with safeties Buster Skrine and Morris Clairborne and rookies Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye at corners.