New York Jets: Top things to watch out for vs Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: D.J. Swearinger #21 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 17-10 in their NFL game at RingCentral Coliseum on November 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: D.J. Swearinger #21 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 17-10 in their NFL game at RingCentral Coliseum on November 17, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images) /

Here are the top things to watch out for vs the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Here are the full details portrayed in a unique way.

The Silver and Black enter through the visitor’s tunnel of MetLife Stadium, ready for battle. They are pacing, stretching, closing their eyes and imagining the scene yet to unfold in front of them…

On the other side of the field, in the home tunnel, the New York Jets squad chants their own battle cries, talks about a season with so much promise, with so much spirit, with so much hope…

The fans slowly pour into the stadium outside, and already we can hear the battle drums; the “J-E-T-S” chants echoing through the walls, up the escalators, through the halls, into the locker room, onto the field, into the skies.

The Jet players huddle around each other, arm and arm.

They know what’s behind them. They know they have fallen a bit short of the expectations put upon them, maybe some unfair, but they know they can be better. Battle has taken its toll on the squad; the troops are battered. Some faces are missing in the crowd. Other troops anticipate the battle from homes and refuge far away…

But none of that matters now.

Someone raises an arm defiantly in the darkness of the tunnel, and the light slowly pouring in is a beckoning sign to the warriors inside; the time is upon them. The muffled chants and wild noises at the end of the corridor start to become a little clearer In the crisp autumn night’s air…


A blowtorch of fire erupts in the distance in front of them, and as they look to their fellow man, clothed in white and green armor, they charge out to meet the crowd, to meet the brisk, cool autumn breeze, to meet the battle cries and war chants and an entire stadium of allies cheering them on, watching their every move.

A fan watches as Number 14 says something inaudible to his troop, and all chaos breaks loose. They come running onto the fresh grass, their eyes met with bright lights in every direction, the clapping, stomping, yelling; the sounds of a war about to erupt. The Jet squad looks around to their fellow man, faces as focused and hard as stone, and when their eyes meet the opposite tunnel, where the silver and black await them…

This night, the trenches are where the battle will be won; it will be fought. Tooth and nail, clawing for every single inch, every single yard. “We can only take it one game at a time”, their leader reminds them, but they know each game is a chance.

This night, their young and ascending leader looks to spoil any playoff campaign hopes for the Oakland Raiders. He’s faced a formidable group of men before this and embarrassed the Dallas Cowboys on national television. He watched as Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, and co. wreaked absolute havoc on Dak Prescott and star running back Ezekiel Elliott.

When he stepped onto the field, He took Dallas’s highly ranked and touted defense and picked it apart. Piece by Piece. Tonight he looks to do the same against Derek Carr and Jon Gruden, who now make their way onto the field to their respective sideline, their faces also set in steel.

This battle will be a test of courage, heart, and strength not just physically, but mentally as well.

Oakland comes into this game on a two-game win streak itself, having put down the Chargers and the Bengals. They are a young squad, led by rookie running back Josh Jacobs; a front runner for offensive rookie of the year. Names like Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller resonate in the minds of the Jets defensive corps.

On the other side of the ball, young players like rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell look to throw New York off balance. Both teams are hungry. Someone needs to emerge a victor…

Oakland is a team built through its offensive and defensive lines, who look to impose their wills on opposing teams week in and week out. They aren’t the most flashy team in the league; not a high flying Baltimore Raven squad or ’85 bears reminiscentPatriots defensive backfield, but they’re tough. Gritty. Built for this combat sport.

But so are we.

The once potential league MVP Derek Carr, coming off a devastating leg injury that sidelined him most of last season, looks to return to the form he once flashed. A 6-year veteran, Carr has led Oakland to a 6-4 record this season through the adversity of such things as the Antonio Brown debacle, the Vontez Burfiet suspension. Oakland’s Quarterback and squad have faced adversity. But so have we. 

In order for the Green and White to emerge victoriously, a few key battles must be won.

Getting After Derek Carr.

The Jets under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have played well as of late. They were able to generate significant pressure in the pocket on quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins. Gregg Williams’ has dialed up some clever, impressive defensive schemes, especially taking into consideration the myriad of injuries on his defense as a whole.

  1.  Jamal Adams. Leading the team with 56 tackles (9 assisted), 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, look for the “president” to represent his defense. He is the catalyst. He is the engine that drives the Jet defense from beginning to end. Jamall needs to have another big game, locking down the backfield with his partner and “vice president” Safety Marcus Maye.
  2. Quinnen Williams.  The No.  3 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft out of Alabama has shown glimpses of what made him one of the best (if not the best) overall football players in the entire draft. With 1.5 sacks on the year and 20 tackles, Quinnen hasn’t put up the kind of numbers you might expect from such a highly-touted draft pick, but the numbers can be deceiving. Gregg Williams has used him in several different defensive schemes, not just as purely an edge rusher or nose tackle. He has asked Quinnen to do a little bit of everything depending on the opponent. The New York Jets currently rank first in the NFL against the run. It’s no coincidence that Williams has been a part of this impressive number, as he draws double teams from opposing lineman and frees up other defenders to attack the quarterback and ball carrier(s).

In order for the Jets defense to have a field day with Oakland, Williams needs to come up big, making key tackles and anchoring that stout Jets defensive front next to Steve Mclendon and Henry Anderson.

  1. Nathan Shepherd and Folorunso Fatukasi.

Against the Giants with these two in the rotation, star running back Saquon Barkley was held to 1 yard on offense. No, that’s not a typo. 1 yard. With the injuries at defensive line and nose tackle, not to mention the trade of Leonard Williams to the Giants, Shepherd and Fatukasi have been asked to step into some big shoes, and they haven’t disappointed. These two need to be at the point of attack against an extremely physical Raiders front seven and need to get penetration. Guys like defensive end Henry Anderson need to also find ways to make Derek Carr extremely uncomfortable in the pocket.

4. Bless Austin. The sixth-round pick out of Rutgers has 6 total tackles, 1 forced fumble and 2 pass deflections in the two games he has played since stepping in for Trumaine Johnson, who was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve three weeks ago. Praised by many scouts as a potential “sleeper pick”, Blessaun has made the most of his opportunities the past two weeks, making some plays reminiscent of the “Revis Island” days. At six foot one, 198 pounds (, he has the height and reach to frustrate opposing receivers all day long. Look for him to be lined up next to Darren Waller and Tyrell Williams. Winning these physical one-on-one battles will be imperative to getting Derek Carr and Co. off the field, and getting number 14 onto the pastures of MetLife Stadium, which transitions to my next point.

The Jets need to stop or at least contain Oaklands attack, starting with rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs, who is on pace for over 1,000 yards this season, is a physical, downhill runner who isn’t afraid to take a hit (or give one). In order to slow any momentum, the Jets need to eliminate or simply slow down Oaklands rushing game. Also worth mentioning, the New York Jets currently rank 1st defensively against the run (tip of the cap to Gregg Williams working with a ravaged defense).

Needless to say, the league’s best-run defense going against the reliant-rushing attack of the Raiders should be a great matchup. Regardless of analytics, it’s safe to assume Oakland will still try and run the ball, especially in the first half to try and get momentum. The Jet front seven, with third overall pick Quinnen Williams right in the mix, needs to stuff Jacobs and co. and force back any progress Oakland seeks to gain on the ground.

This will force Derek Carr to throw the ball more, and he isn’t as mobile a quarterback as say, Lamar Jackson or Deshaun Watson.

The bottom line?  Get Derek Carr as uncomfortable as possible.


  1.  Sam Darnold. Since coming back from Mononucleosis, Sam Darnold’s record as a starter is 3-3. Coming off a career-high four touchdown, 293-yard performance against the Redskins, it’s safe to say the franchise signal-caller needs to have a franchise-type day against the Silver and Black. As he continues to get healthier and grow as a quarterback, Sam’s ability to extend plays, his elusiveness, and his accuracy will all be weapons to strike fear into opposing defenses. Oakland currently ranks 27th in passing yards allowed, with 262.2 per game.  These aren’t great numbers at all, and the Jets need to exploit their weakness through the air. Look to guys like Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, Ryan Griffin and Demaryius Thomas to pick apart Oaklands talented, but inexperienced defense. Griffin had a career game against Washington, walking off the field with 109 yards and a touchdown. With tight end Chris Herndon out for the season, the Jets look to Griffin to step up and make the big plays at the tight end position against Oakland and their young secondary. If Griffin continues to produce at the rate he’s been going, he could very well be in discussion to make the team again, as a starter, next season.
  2. Le’Veon Bell.

While this may seem like a no brainer,  Bell still hasn’t had the kind of breakout game which makes him so undeniably dangerous out of the backfield. A new offensive system, new blockers, and a new quarterback all factor into the equation.

Against the Redskins defense, Bell was able to rack up 59 yards on the ground, which is an improvement. Gang Green needs Le’Veon Bell (and his offensive line) to create gaps and holes for him to run through. Part of what makes Bell such a dangerous player is his ability to explode through openings in space, but if space isn’t there, it’s going to be tough. Guys like Ty Montgomery and Bilal Powell are great one-two punch pieces. The backfield needs to find holes against Oakland’s formidable defensive front, exploit them, and make Oakland pay dearly.

  1. The Jets Offensive Line.

With the whole Ryan Kalil experiment ending on a sour note and a trip to I.R., the Jets “next man up” mentality needs to show here, and arguably no position on the offensive line is as important as center; he snaps the ball to the quarterback, calls out what he sees on the defense, and blocks for the quarterback all in the same motion. While it’s no longer Ryan Kalil at center, his backup, center Jonotthan Harrison, has played quite nicely recently. Harrison played center most of last year, and has been consistent, rarely allowing penetration up the middle. The undrafted Florida product is an imposing man at 6-foot-4 300 pounds, and although he was undrafted, he has been in the league since being signed by the Indianapolis Colts in 2014.

Rookie third-round Tackle Chuma Edoga has been a bit inconsistent since being named a starter (flagged for six penalties in five games), but these are arguably mostly just rookie growing pains, as his agility and explosiveness off the line of scrimmage sometimes make the casual viewer forget that he was just drafted this offseason.  Guard Alex Lewis, replacing Kelechi Osemele in the fourth game of the season, has been the Jets’ best blocker by far.

Left Tackle Kelvin Beachum, a 30-year-old 7th round pick originally from the Steelers in 2012, has done a nice job protecting Sam Darnold’s blindside, and is respected enough to be named a team captain.

All of these guys need to step up in order to give Sam Darnold the time to make the throws he has shown us all that he’s capable of making. With the right time and comfortability in the pocket, Sam will look to build upon his four touchdown scorching of Washington’s secondary.

Granted, This offensive line will likely look much different this time next year, but for now, consistency is key. Consistency, Physicality, and protecting Sam from guys like rookie Defensive End Maxx Crosby (6.5 sacks on the season) and Clelin Ferrell (3.5 sacks) (

The Oakland Raiders lead the all-time series 25-19-2, but Gang Green looks to turn things around. This Raiders team is young and talented, and very physical. Led by veteran Derek Carr, they look to sneak into the AFC playoffs, but they need to come through the Jets first.

The Jets know this, and with two strong performances against the Giants and Redskins, they look to build upon their recent success. This is not the same team that was embarrassed by the Patriots on Monday Night Football.

We have made strides in the right direction, and Gang Green looks to make another huge stride when they host the Raiders this Sunday.

Make no mistake Jet fans, this is going to be a battle. It’s going to be a war. It’s going to be a tough, “who wants it more” kind of a game. Gang Green was down for a while, with some head-shaking injuries, illnesses, and plain old bad fortune, but the tide seems to be turning.

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Jet faithful can feel a resurgence, and as Sam Darnold continues to grow before our eyes into the franchise savior we believe he is capable of being, the skies over MetLife Stadium are clearing, slowly but surely. “One game at a time” Sam Darnold told reporters following the huge win in Washington. On any given Sunday, anything can happen. Let us trust the process, and know that when Oakland runs out of the visitor’s tunnel, we’ll be waiting.

… And we’re ready for battle.