The New York Jets will face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Here’s the inside scoop on Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock + top x-factors to watch out for.
The New York Jets are on a two-game winning streak and are looking for a legitimate win. While the Oakland Raiders are 6-4, but they’ve only beaten one team above .500 on the season.
Although despite that factoid, Oakland has looked like a different team in 2019 with head coach Jon Gruden being paired with general manager Mike Mayock.
Mayock has built a talented roster filled with impressive rookies and veterans playing beyond their abilities. A lot of that credit should be shared with coach Gruden who is looking more and more in his element every day.
If the green and white are going to snap their playoff drought, they’ll need to win out and that includes beating the Raiders. The Jets have only beaten teams in the NFC conference, so that doesn’t help their playoff odds.
To get a better understanding of the silver and black, we spoke with Brad Weiss, Site Expert for Just Blog Baby, FanSided sister network covering all things Oakland Raiders.
Over the next few slides we’ll break down the Mike Mayock-Jon Gruden relationship, top x-factors to watch out for and ultimately who will win on Sunday in this AFC conference clash?
Next: 1. Mike Mayock experience
1. When Mike Mayock was hired there was a lot of skepticism publicly how he would fare and he’s delivered. What kind of relationship has he had with Jon Gruden and how good was his first draft class?
When I think about the relationship between Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock, I think about two guys who compliment each other so well. In Gruden, you have a guy who likes to make the big splash, sometimes making decisions before really thinking about them.
In Mayock, you have a person who is cerebral in his approach, taking his time, and while he makes the big splash, he crosses off all the boxes before doing so.
In addition, they have a different approach to the players as well. During the whole Antonio Brown saga, they had a good cop, bad cop approach, with Gruden speaking with Brown, and Mayock speaking with the media. In a way, Mayock would take the bullets for Gruden in the media, and he did not seem to mind.
The bottom line with these two guys is they are both football-first people, and absolutely love the game. That is where they have so much in common. They are tireless workers, and that kind of commitment to the franchise has rubbed off on the players. Overall, this was a match made in heaven.
Next: 2. Mental state of the Raiders
2. The Oakland Raiders have dealt with everything from the Antonio Brown saga to losing streaks to winning streaks. How is this team mentally at this point in the season and how have they managed at wide receiver minus AB?
This question is interesting because when you talk with Raider Nation, they will tell you the whole Brown saga actually brought this team closer. Heading into that Week 1 matchup with the Denver Broncos, the Raiders were absolutely fired up, and it showed in their play. They dominated on both sides of the ball, and Derek Carr was not touched against the tandem of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.
After the two home games to start the year, this team was road warriors, and that definitely brought them together as well. This is a team that is playing for each other, and they know they have a responsibility in their last season in Oakland.
In addition, Mayock and Gruden brought in rookies from winning programs, and that has changed the mantra around the franchise as well.
In terms of the wide receiver group, Carr has had to deal with so many changes this season, including WR1 Tyrell Williams missing time. He has done a nice job working everybody in, including fifth-rounder Hunter Renfrow, who is his guy to go to on third down. Zay Jones was brought in from Buffalo, and he brings a little flair to this offense, but the real help has been the play of the tight ends in Darren Waller, Derek Carrier, and rookie Foster Moreau in the passing game.
Next: 3. Under the radar Oakland players to watch
3. Who are some under the radar players Jets fans should be watching out for on Sunday?
On offense, look for rookie tight end Foster Moreau to make some kind of impact on Sunday. He is a guy who is not only a fantastic blocker but a perfect complement to Darren Waller, who is having a breakout season at the position. Moreau can make plays in the passing game, and you will see on Sunday that the Raiders love to trot out multiple tight ends.
Moreau was a fourth-round pick, so he is not one of those guys who is a big part of the game plan every week. However, he always seems to be impacting the game in some way, whether he is springing Josh Jacobs, or catching a Derek Carr touchdown pass in the back of the end zone.
On defense, rookie Trayvon Mullen is really starting to make an impact in the Raiders secondary. Oakland traded away former first round pick Gareon Conley during the season, clearing the way for Mullen to start alongside Daryl Worley at cornerback.
The returns have been outstanding, and during the team’s win last week, Mullen actually had the game-sealing interception of Ryan Finley.
He is a rookie, so he is going to have his issues, but he has proven to be a great cover guy, and has actually missed on a potential pick-six in two straight games. If Sam Darnold decides to try him instead of Worley on Sunday, it could spell disaster for Gang Green.
Next: 4. Details on Raiders move to Vegas
4. What do you guys think of the move from Oakland to Las Vegas and how will Raiders fans embrace that change and how have they?
I read somewhere that the Raiders are “Playing for Oakland, but Building for Las Vegas,” and that has rung true this season. In all their home games, the Coliseum has been rocking, and head coach Jon Gruden has made it his point to go down into the Black Hole after victories and celebrate with the fans.
Despite the move to Las Vegas, these fans are not going anywhere.
It is a tough thing obviously for the Bay Area fans, but you have to remember, the Raiders did everything they could to stay in Oakland. While the move to Las Vegas is rough, there are airlines who will be giving deals from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, and you can only imagine how crazy those flights are going to be.
Bottom line is, this Raiders team loves the City of Oakland, and after their Thursday Night victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at home, Derek Carr actually got choked up talking about the fans inside this building. Anytime a franchise moves it is hard, but the Raiders have moved a bunch in their 60 years of existence, and it won’t mean much in terms of fan loyalty moving forward.
Next: 5. Final prediction
5. What kind of game are you expecting and how does this one play out on Sunday?
Honestly, the Raiders are just a better team than the New York Jets right now, and I think in the end, Oakland will find a way to get it done. I live in New York, so I know how special Sam Darnold is going to be once they put some guys in front of him, and some weapons around him in the passing game.
For the Raiders, they will be able to get to Darnold in this one, as the Jets are horrible at letting the kid get hit, and this defensive line is starting to peak. While the Jets are No. 1 against the run, Josh Jacobs should be able to find his holes in this one, and Derek Carr is excellent at getting whatever he can in the passing game.
Overall, this will be a much closer game than was originally expected when the Jets were 1-7. They are playing good football right now, but have done it against some bad teams in the New York Giants and Washington Redskins.
Anytime a West coast team goes East it is a challenge, but the Raiders have traveled a ton this season, and it should not mess with them too much. In the end, the Raiders score late to take this one 27-24 on the road.