Offense: The Oakland Raiders are going to show plenty of man to man looks against the Jets defense and work to prevent them from running the football, which hasn’t been a difficult task so far against their offense. I don’t see any chance of Nick Mangold playing this week, so the Jets are going to need to protect rookie center Colin Baxter. The way to do this is to work the outside rushing attack and find ways to have the short passing game replace the running game. Instead of plunging Shonn Greene into the middle repeatedly for 1 and 2 yard gains, throw quick slants, hitches, and screens to Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. The Jets should also look to get their screen game going with LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight out of the backfield.
Their collection of tight ends should also come in valuable this week, as Dustin Keller and Jeff Cumberland are reliable weapons in the short to intermediate passing game. The Jets are going to want to avoid longer drops for Mark Sanchez with Baxter at center and Wayne Hunter struggling at right tackle. It is time to work the 3 step passing game and again let those short passes replace the running game.We have seen limited trickery from the Jets so far on offense, with Antonio Cromartie running a reverse last week being the only sign of it. I am still waiting for them to unleash Jeremy Kerley or break out a toss pass from LaDainian Tomlinson who has history of creating big plays when given the chance to throw the ball.
Defense: Stop Darren McFadden. Oakland’s offense begins and ends with McFadden’s production. If the Jets can slow him down rushing the football and put this game in Jason Campbell’s hands, they will be in very good shape. The Jets secondary is more than equipped to slow down the Raiders receivers and tight ends. McFadden is a threat out of the backfield as a receiver and I am sure Oakland will find a way to use him in the screen game. The Jets must tackle well in space and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went with a three safety look on many downs, getting Brodney Pool on the field to replace Bryan Thomas.
If McFadden isn’t creating big plays, Oakland will struggle heavily to get receivers open down the field which will feed into a pass rush that has been better than expected this season. Calvin Pace had three sacks back in 2009 when the Jets came to Oakland and is off to a strong start this year. Let’s hope he can continue to lead the way along with Bart Scott who already has more sacks this year than he had all of last season.
Special Teams: Nick Folk hasn’t missed a field goal yet this season and TJ Conley has been surprisingly solid. I wonder if will begin to see teams start kicking away from Antonio Cromartie, although with Sebastian Janikowski at kicker, he might not get any chances this week.