New York Jets 2020 Opponents – Las Vegas Raiders

Michael Meegan with a breakdown of the Las Vegas Raiders, the New York Jets week 13 opponent…

The Raiders left Oakland for the bright lights of Las Vegas.  The Raiders got off to a hot start in 2019 but faltered to a 1-5 finish to go 7-9.  With another loaded draft class, the Raiders are looking to break through and look again like the 2016 Raiders which looked like a Super Bowl contender.  The Raiders come back to Metlife for a December showdown Week 13 with the Jets looking to get revenge for the spanking the Jets put on them last year. 

Coaching  Jon Gruden is one of the most polarizing coaches in the NFL.  If you cut through all the memes and wacky sayings Gruden is actually a pretty solid coach.  He was able to lead the Raiders to 9th in offensive DVOA with an average QB in Derrick Carr and a lot to be desired at the skill positions.  The coaching questions for the Raiders come on the defense side of the ball.  In both seasons as the Raiders DC Paul Guenther has lead his defense to the 30th and 31st DVOA defense in 2018 and 2019.  His last 3 years as the Bengals DC they never had a DVOA defense above 17th.  Serious questions still surround this Raiders defense and he has shown nothing in recent years that he is the guy to turn it around.

Personnel Derek Carr is often the butt of many jokes as being an overly conservative QB.  Statistically Carr is a pretty solid QB but when you watch him play you are always left wanting more.  Josh Jacobs took the league by storm as a rookie and without a late season injury slowing him down he would of won Rookie of the Year.  The Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in the league as Rodney Hudson has a claim as the league’s best center and Trent Brown is one of the most physically dominant OT’s in football.  Former first round OT Kolton Miller looks to be an ascending player at the position.  The Raiders used first and third round picks to try to beef up their WR room bringing in Henry Ruggs, a deep threat with blazing speed and Bryan Edwards a big physical receiver who reminds me a lot of former Jet Quincy Enunwa.  These two should prove to be good compliments to their star TE Darren Waller who really broke out in 2019.

The Raiders do not have a lot of talent on defense.  Corey Liddleton is a very good LB who was added in FA from the LA Rams.  Maurice Hurst looks like a young stud at DT and DE Maxx Crosby had 10 sacks as a rookie.  They are banking on 2019 top 5 pick Clelin Ferrell and young corners Damon Arnnette and Trayvon Mullen too be impact players on their defense in 2020.

Potential Weaknesses The backbone of the Raiders’ offense is their running game.  They have a throwback style where they emphasize smash mouth football.  They then use that to set up their play action passing game where Derrick Carr is most effective.  The Jets have one of the best run defenses in the league.  If they win the battle in the trenches the Raiders are going to struggle to move the ball.  Their defense also has major issues in the secondary and pass rush.  They are relying on a lot of young players to be major pieces and it will be hard to get them enough reps with an abbreviated offseason.

Matchup with the Jets  I love the matchup of the Jets with the Raiders.  The Jets pasted the Raiders last season.  The Raiders have better skill players now so they will be a tougher matchup for the Jets secondary.  However, I do not think the Raiders can run the ball on the Jets and that will cause their offense to stall.  The Raiders defense is not that much different than last year and they do not have the pass rush to take advantage of the Jets question marks on the offensive line nor do they have the secondary talent to really lock down the Jets skill guys.  This is the game I feel the best about on the Jets schedule and a game Sam Darnold really flexes his muscles and leads the Jets to a big victory.