The Raiders have decided to start rookie quarterback Derek Carr on opening day against the Jets. While one would think this would favor the Jets, with their weak secondary it may be a double edged sword that will come back to bite them. The Raiders have lost their last 14 games in the eastern time zone which one might suspect gives the Jets another advantage. Here is where Jets have to be careful, the Raiders last year ran for 150 yards the most the Jets gave up last season. McFadden may not have turned into the back everyone thought he would but he is still dangerous, the Raiders have added the always dangerous Maurice Jones-Drew, albeit a little older and coming off an injury and fullback Marcel Reece led the Raiders in rushing yards against the Jets last season. If the Raiders are able to establish the running game you can expect the Raiders to challenge the Jets corners, and I don’t think the Jets corners are good enough to win that battle even against a rookie quarterback.
On the other hand Geno Smith looks a lot more confident than he did a year ago, so the Jets should be able to open up the offense a little bit more this year. If the Jets run Chris Ivory as their main back as Chris Johnson in short yardage situations, the Jets running should be good. Eric Decker is the Jets best receiver he will be drawing a lot of double teams, the question is can David Nelson or Jace Amaro can step up and make a real difference in the passing game. On most teams Jeremy Kerley is a fourth receiver and Jeff Cumberland while he has caught 58% of his passes and averages 13.7 yards a catch in his two full seasons as a starter he has been targeted 97 times and his targets and receptions went down last year his second year as a full time starter, so don’t expect Cumberland to figure heavily in the passing game.
The Key Matchup in this game is not going to Derek Carr versus the Jets secondary because Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen is too smart to try and put this game squarely on his rookie quarterback in his NFL debut. The Key matchup in this game is the Raiders running backs against the Jets front seven. Who ever wins this battle wins the game.
I like the Raiders, I think starting Derek Carr over Matt Schaub is a good decision, nonetheless as much as I am rooting for the Raiders in this game, I think the Jets front seven is too good against the run and will set the Raiders up with third and long all day and despite their weak secondary the blitz packages Rex Ryan will throw at the rookie on third and long will doom the Raiders.
Final Score: New York Jets 24 Oakland Raiders 10