On Sunday the New York Jets (5-7) take on the Oakland Raiders (4-8) at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. EST). The Jets have lost three in a row while the Raiders are traveling east following a disappointing Thanksgiving loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Offensive line play- Once again the New York Jets offensive line will be facing a ton of pressure as the Raiders (ranked 10th against the run) will stack the box in order to shut down the ground game. The Jets front must play physical and hold their blocks in order to give running backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell a chance to get going.
Return of the playmakers- According to head coach Rex Ryan wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes along with tight end Kellen Winslow will all be ready to play on Sunday. The return of Kerley is huge for Gang Green as he is a dynamic playmaker out of the slot position. Winslow is a reliable pass catcher that could provide Geno Smith with a safety valve in obvious passing formations.
Get Geno going- Rookie quarterback Geno Smith is battered and bruised and desperately needs to get off to a quick start. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg must find a way to get the rookie and the offense in sync. This could be done with the short to intermediate passing game which will not only help Geno, but will take pressure off of the running game as well. Coaching scared with a limited game plan hurts both Smith and the Jets chances of winning.
Ground it out- The New York Jets front seven will be getting a break on Sunday as Oakland's 5th ranked rushing attack will be without running back Darren McFadden and possibly Rashad Jennings (not yet cleared from concussion). As of now Marcel Reece and Jamize Olawale will see time if Jennings is unable to go.Gang Green's defense should absolutely shut down the running game and then focus all of their attention on Matt McGloin and the vertical passing attack.
Break out the track shoes- The New York secondary will be challenged early and often by a Raider receiver group that is big, strong, and fast. With Denarius Moore out Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford, and Andre Holmes have all picked up the slack. The Jets defensive backs must play physical at the line of scrimmage and remain consistent in coverage over the top. Blown assignments could result in long touchdowns.
Mess with Matt- Raiders rookie quarterback Matt McGloin has been fairly impressive in his first 3 starts. McGloin spreads the ball around and is not scared to take shots down the field. The New York Jets defense has to get their pass rush cranked up in order to disrupt the rhythm of the offense. Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace, and Sheldon Richardson must get hits on McGloin with hopes of forcing bad decisions and turnovers.
Does anyone really know what to expect from the New York Jets at this point? On paper both of these teams can stop the run which is going to put pressure on the rookie quarterbacks and the passing game.
The return of Kerley and increased snaps for Santonio Holmes should be a huge lift for Geno Smith. Mornhinweg should be able to open the play book and get this offense back on track. I think Marty and Rex Ryan both know that if Geno and the Jets start off slow it is going to become a "boo fest" at MetLife Stadium.
Taking Geno over McGloin with very limited confidence. 24-13 Jets