There’s no official word whether the Raiders will actually pillage for fun, knock the Jets ‘round and upside down and laugh when they’ve conquered and won, but this much is certain: The Autumn wind will likely rough up the guys in green-and-white on Sunday.
The second stop in the Suck for Sam (or Frozen for Rosen) Tour lands at the doorstep of a bunch of silver and black-clad nut-jobs ready to devour you. If the Jets aren’t careful, they’ll be swallowed whole in The Black Hole by an explosive outfit with Super Bowl LII in its sights.
Vegas has already predicted a laugher. Todd Bowles’ team is a two-touchdown underdog, the longest of longshots in this longshot season. Miracles can happen, but not this week: These Jets simply don’t have the fire power to keep pace with this offensive juggernaut.
“The receivers are a talented corps,” Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said of the Raiders.
“Offensive line is very talented. Talented runner. Talented tight ends. And the quarterback is extremely talented… They can attack you from every different angle.”
Loose translation: We’re screwed.
The Jets head into Oakland’s infamous Black Hole as two-touchdown underdogs on Sunday.
Bowles’ players and staff aren’t wired to give up, but the Raiders (1-0) are an overwhelming challenge for any opponent, especially one in full-fledged rebuilding/evaluation/tank mode.
“We’re not going out there to lay down,” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “We’re going out there to try to come out with a win. We still got to go out and play no matter who they pick.”
You can bet your sweet derriere that Bowles’ team will play hard, but only the Kool-Aid guzzlers would actually believe that the Jets stand a chance to go blow-for-blow with an offense that can beat you in just about every way.
For all the hype swirling around Marshawn Lynch’s debut in front of his hometown fans, the larger concerns for the Jets will be contending with a quarterback who rarely gets touched due to stellar offensive-line play, and a pair of 1,000-yard receivers, who repeatedly turn short gains into big ones after the catch. Sprinkle in an underachieving – but extremely talented – new tight end and you’ve got a serious problem.
There’s no sense in investing your energy trying to stop one particular weapon. Derek Carr will find another one to gouge you.
“You can’t go after one person when their whole offense is good,” cornerback Buster Skrine said. “That’s the honest answer. When you go against a team like Oakland, you can’t just say that, because somebody else will hurt you.”
Lynch’s bull-dozing run over 300-pounder Jurrell Casey in Oakland’s season-opening win in Tennessee turned into Monday morning water-cooler talk, but Beast Mode, frankly, will be the least of the Jets concerns. Sure, Bowles and Rodgers’ defense gave up 190 rushing yards to the Bills last week, but that was as much a function of LeSean McCoy’s elusiveness and Tyrod Taylor’s mobility as anything.
The Jets have thrown bouquets at the 31-year-old, newly un-retired Lynch all week, but I’m not sold. Mo Wilkerson might have looked silly at times trying to corral McCoy and Taylor, but I’ll walk home backwards from the West Coast if Lynch runs over that Jets defensive lineman.
Trying to slow down Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’ Lynch in his home debut just one of many headaches for Jets.
It’s not going to happen.
Wilkerson and Leonard Williams are too big, too strong and too young to get posterized like that.
The Raiders have a stellar offensive line, but Wilkerson and Williams are plenty motivated to avoid last week’s disappointment that prompted Bowles to call out what’s expected to be his most stout position group.
The real threat isn’t Beast Mode. It’s Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
Carr has one of the best receiving duos in the league at his disposal. Crabtree and Cooper have been target monsters in their two full seasons together. Crabtree is steady. Cooper has just scratched the surface of his potential. They’re massive headaches each week.
“I feel like ain’t nobody in the NFL that’s not good,” Claiborne said. “Each and every week you got guys on both sides that can do damage to you. They just so happen that they got two stars over there.”
The Raiders increased Cooper’s usage on the most important part of the field last week. Cooper had four red-zone targets (that included a touchdown) in the season opener after getting only 20 in his first 32 games. The third-year wideout had no career catches on only seven targets inside the 10-year line before getting four looks in the first two drives in Week 1.
Although Crabtree was tied for fifth in the league with 21 red-zone targets last season, Cooper simply shouldn’t be overlooked near the end zone anymore.
Derek Carr has a pair of elite wide receivers to target.
“He’s their best receiver in my opinion,” Skrine said of Cooper, who is one of only three players with at least 70 receptions and 1,100 receiving yards in his first two seasons (along with Marques Colston and Odell Beckham, Jr.).
Wilkerson, Williams, et al must generate consistent pressure on Carr or the Jets secondary doesn’t stand a chance against those wideouts. The Jets’ issues with tight ends (see: Charles Clay last week) might bode well for Jared Cook, who caught all five of his targets with his new team last week.
We haven’t even factored in whether John Morton’s offense, coming off the franchise’s worst yardage output in more than 2 1/2 years, can keep up.
The NFL isn’t immune to huge upsets, but it’s hard to imagine anything other than more pain for the Jets on Sunday. Don’t expect any miracles in The Black Hole.