The term “must win” is thrown around far too often in the NFL, yet I am going to take the same liberty many others take with it and proclaim the Jets “must” win their upcoming week 3 road game against the Oakland Raiders.
We aren’t blind, the following two games are on the road against the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots. Nobody is more confident in this team than myself but coming off a long trip to Oakland, I think any realistic person would sign up for a split of those games. A win in Oakland would allow the Jets to come out of their most difficult three game stretch with a 4-1 record facing two home games, a bye week, and a very manageable final nine games that includes games against the Chiefs, Broncos, Giants, Dolphins, and two games against the Bills. (Yes, I am aware Buffalo is better this year but the Jets will appropriately be favorites in both of their match-ups).
Oakland is an improved football team but let’s not go crazy. They are a substantial cut below the Ravens and Patriots. They beat the Broncos in a tight game to start the season and then blew a large second half lead against Buffalo. Darren McFadden is a beast but the Jets know a thing or two about stopping the run and Jason Campbell doesn’t have the weapons in the passing game to handle Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Oakland’s defense is tough on the run but highly susceptible to the pass, as they were shredded apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. If you can’t cover Stevie Johnson and David Nelson, you can’t cover Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller, never mind Plaxico Burress.
If the Jets consider themselves an elite team in this league they will handle business this week. If you want to win the AFC East there is no room for losses at Oakland. It is going to take 12 or maybe even 13 wins to take the AFC East this year, which makes the margin for error razor thin. It is time for this team to win their division, get a bye and a host a playoff game. You want that to become a reality? Don’t lay an egg to the Raiders this week.