The Oakland Raiders will be a Tough Battle for the New York Jets’ Front Seven

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Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback

Eli Manning

(10) steps to pass as New York Jets defensive end

Muhammad Wilkerson

(96) closes in during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets have a tough opening schedule, with weeks two through seven including the likes of Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. Many of the experts look at the game against the Raiders as the one the Jets should get rather easily. No game is “easy”. Muhammad Wilkerson and the rest of the Jets’ front seven on defense had better be ready to do battle, because this one will be tough on them.

Don’t get me wrong, the Jets are catching a break here. Rex Ryan has typically had his defense eat rookie quarterbacks for breakfast, and that is exactly who we are facing on Sunday. Derek Carr is making the start, beating out Matt Schaub for the position. The team is surely licking its chops preparing for this one.

But, what about the running game? Nothing takes the pressure off of a young quarterback than an effective running game. Here is where the Jets have been given fits by the Raiders, and they might very well do it again if the team isn’t prepared.

First, you have the often injured, but dynamic when healthy, Darren McFadden. In the two games he has played against the Jets, he has averaged 105 yards per game. His speed around the edge is as tough to stop as anyone in the league. He has also averaged 7.78 yards per carry against the Jets, a career best against any team. McFadden broke off a 23 yard run early in the preseason, looking as healthy as ever.

Add the long time Jaguar, Maurice Jones-Drew, to the mix, and you could have a big problem. For his career, Jones-Drew has faced the Jets three times, and averaged 90 yards per game in those contests. He has also averaged 4.91 yards per carry against the Jets. For the preseason, Jones-Drew looks a bit rejuvenated, running 11 times for 67 yards, a 6.1 yards per carry average.

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These are two potentially dominant running backs, and speed ones at that. They are two guys that have given the Jets fits over the years.

Now don’t come after me now, I understand it’s only the preseason. But, the defense hasn’t exactly been great against the run. Specifically, the Jets defense was 28th in the league against the run in the preseason, allowing 135.2 yards per game on the ground. This is obviously not what we expect from a Rex Ryan defense.

Again, it was only the preseason, and the quarterback is still a rookie. But, the Jets had better be able to stop the run, otherwise the pressure will be off of Derek Carr, and the opener may not turn out how we would like it to.