A chaotic week for the Raiders culminated with a blowout win and victory cigars last Sunday against the Giants. Now, the Raiders (4-5) have a chance to keep the party going against New York’s other team, the Jets (4-4), who visit Allegiant Stadium for a “Sunday Night Football” matchup.
Who: Raiders vs. Jets
When: 5:20 p.m. Sunday
Where: Allegiant Stadium
TV: KSNV-3 (Mike Tirico, play-by-play; Cris Collinsworth, Melissa Stark, Terry McAulay, analysts)
Radio: KRLV-AM (920), KOMP-FM (92.3) (Jason Horowitz, play-by-play; Lincoln Kennedy, analyst)
Line: Pick ’em; total 36
The Raiders dropped six of the first seven meetings, but have won three of the past four and have a 24-18-2 edge in a series that includes the famed “Heidi Game.”
Derek Carr floated a deep pass down the left sideline, and Henry Ruggs beat everyone to the spot for a 46-yard touchdown with five seconds remaining to give the Raiders a 31-28 victory Dec. 6, 2020. The Jets fired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams the next day for calling an all-out blitz on the decisive play with such little time on the clock. The Raiders kept their playoff hopes alive, only to drop their next three games.
1. Journeyman quarterback Tim Boyle will replace Zach Wilson at some point in the game, much to the delight of Jets fans.
2. While his close friend and former college teammate Sauce Gardner will get a ton of attention on the broadcast, Raiders rookie Tre Tucker steals the show with his first touchdown.
3. After watching teammate AJ Cole set a record for punting average, Daniel Carlson will make at least four field goals and win the AFC special teams player of the week honor that Cole was deprived of last week.
Matchups to watch
1. Jets running back Breece Hall vs. Raiders defensive front. The Raiders must improve against the run — they are 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per game. The Jets want to run the ball, so Hall should be busy.
2. Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams vs. Raiders offensive line. Williams is one of the elite defensive linemen in the league. He’s ordinarily the concern of guards and centers, as he often lines up near the ball, but has started to drift out to right end more often this season to give a different look.
3. Raiders wide receiver Tre Tucker vs. Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner. OK, the matchup everyone wants to see is Gardner against Davante Adams. That would be special, too. But Gardner and Tucker are close friends, so there could be some fun reps if they line up against each other.
When the Jets have the ball
Any perceived progress that quarterback Zach Wilson was making seemed to go out the window when he had one of the worst performances of his young career Monday against the Chargers. He needs to get the ball to Garrett Wilson, one of the best young receivers in the league. But the Jets’ true path to success is on the ground with Breece Hall, who averages 5.2 yards a carry.
When the Raiders have the ball
Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell did a nice job managing the game and protecting the ball in last Sunday’s win over the Giants. It helped O’Connell that the Raiders got a lead and could run the ball consistently for the first time this season. He seldom faced obvious passing situations, which meant the Giants couldn’t tee off on him and put him in position to test the pocket presence that looked so shaky in his first start in Week 4. O’Connell might have to make more plays against the Jets, but the Raiders believe he is ready. It would benefit him again if they can run the ball with Josh Jacobs.
Jets: DNP: LB Chazz Surratt (ankle), OT Billey Turner (finger). LIMITED: WR Allen Lazard (knee), TE Jeremy Ruckert (shoulder), LB Quincy Williams (knee). FULL: OT Mekhi Becton (knee), OT Duane Brown (hip).
Raiders: DNP: FB Jakob Johnson (concussion), T Kolton Miller (shoulder). LIMITED: DE Maxx Crosby (knee), LB Divine Deablo (ankle), CB Nate Hobbs (ankle), TE Austin Hooper (calf), T Thayer Munford Jr. (neck), CB Marcus Peters (knee), G Greg Van Roten (biceps/back), QB Brian Hoyer (knee). FULL: LB Luke Masterson (concussion), LB Robert Spillane (hand).
This is a game that was scheduled for prime time when the Jets were expected to have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. That would have meant an endless cycle of highlights of his many connections with Davante Adams, as it would have been the first time the longtime teammates played against each other as pros. Instead, it’s Aidan O’Connell vs. Zach Wilson. Doesn’t exactly have the same appeal. But that doesn’t mean there’s no intrigue. The Raiders are all of a sudden having fun with the heavy hand of Josh McDaniels lifted off the franchise. The Jets still have hopes of staying in the playoff race. Maybe NBC won’t regret not flexing out of this game after all.
Raiders 19, Jets 16