If the 3-3 Oakland Raiders are to beat the Jets Sunday, they’ll have to find a way to deal with New York’s dominating defense.
The Raiders offense, which looked so good in a victory over the San Diego Chargers last week, may have a much more difficult time against the 4-2 Jets (A previous version of this article erroneously stated the Jets' record as 5-1) at O.co Coliseum (1:05 p.m. kickoff).
The Jets are the NFL’s No. 2 overall ranked defense and are No. 1 vs. the run and No. 4 vs. the pass.
"They’re an elite group," Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave told the media this week. "They’re a lot like a lot of the good defenses we’ve seen over the years -- they can cover and they can get creative when they rush the passer. They try to stop the run, which they did against New England (in a 30-23 loss last week). It’s an elite group and they do elite things conceptually and scheme-wise."
Cornerback Darrelle Revis is one of the NFL’s best, and will try to stifle Raiders rookie receiver Amari Cooper, who’s been outstanding, with three 100-yard receiving games in his first six. Revis leads the NFL in takeaways with six, forcing three fumbles and intercepting three passes already. This will be the biggest test so far as a pro for Cooper. Antonio Cromartie, another top-notch pass defender, is the other corner.
One plus, is this, however: In a matchup against the Patriots in 2014, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr completed five passes to receivers covered by Revis. According to Pro Football Focus, no QB has more completions vs. Revis in a single game over the past four seasons.
The Jets’ front seven, meanwhile, is formidable. The Raiders offensive line -- which so far has been one of the team’s strengths -- will have to play its best game to establish some running room and protect Carr. Opponents have averaged just 3.4 yards per carry this season. Rookie defensive end Leonard Williams has been a terrific addition this year to New York’s 3-4 front and starts alongside nose tackle Damon Harrison and end Muhammad Wilkerson. The Jets have 11 sacks so far.
The Jets aren’t quite as good offensively, but are dangerous, with journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick -- who’s been solid -- running back Chris Ivory and receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.
Oddsmakers have made the Jets 3-point favorites.