Coming in at 3-3 on the season, the Raiders look to ensure at least a .500 record at midseason. To do that they will face the Jets who sit at 4-2 and are looking to make a playoff push.
Statistically, the Jets have the second best overall defense I the league. The Raiders faced the best defense in the league three weeks ago when the Broncos came to Oakland. The Raiders fell 17-10 in that game. As strong as the Jets pass defense is with the likes of Darrelle Revis back there, their run defense is even better. It is the best in the league.
What might surprise you in the Raiders currently have the third best run defense in the NFL, giving up just over 84 yards per game. Though their pass defense is quite suspect so most teams go to the air for their yards and points.
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Can Clive Walford keep it going?
In week 5 against the Broncos, tight end Clive Walford had a 33-yard catch. Then last week the rookie third round pick had two catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. Raiders coaches along with Derek Carr said this week the Walford has earned their trust and he figures to see more targets and catches as the season goes along. That two-catch performance was a breakout because not only was it his first TD as a pro, but he eclipsed his receiving yards total from the firsts five games combined. It was also the first and second time Derek Carr was looking for him from the snap and connected with him for big gains. It appears he is finally becoming the top tight end target this team needs him to be. Look for him to be a factor in this game.
DJ Hayden vs Brandon Marshall
Last week DJ Hayden had his first interception of the season and the second of his career. He was also targeted 12 times and was charged with giving up 10 catches. He will have one of his tougher assignments this week taking on Brandon Marshall. Even with the 10 catches Hayden gave up, he limited many of those to short gains by keeping the receiver in front of him. For that reason, it was considered somewhat of an improvement for Hayden, who has been beaten on several occasions this season for long catches. It's a tough task for Hayden to see if he can continue to take positive steps. This will be an interesting match-up.
Amari Cooper vs Darrelle Revis
No match-up in the game is more exciting than this one. The rookie phenom Cooper who is coming off winning Rookie of the Week, heads to Revis Island. It's the kind of match-up that you long for as a football fan. Cooper has played well against some of the better corners in the game already such as Patrick Peterson, Pacman Jones, Joe Haden, and Aqib Talib. Now he faces the best. Welcome to the NFL, Rookie.
Jets without key starters
Ruled OUT for the Jets this Sunday with an ankle injury will be starting safety Calvin Pryor. He went down with an ankle injury last week against the Patriots. He will be replaced in the lineup by Dion Bailey who Ken Norton Jr knows pretty well. Bailey went to USC and was signed as an undrafted free agent last year by the Seahawks. He made the Seahawks roster out of camp but was released after two games and signed by the Jets. Now he looks to start on Sunday against the Raiders.
Officially doubtful for the game is starting center Nick Mangold. He will be replaced by either Dakota Dozier or Wesley Johnson - either of whom will be a downgrade as a blocker and especially in calling out the defense, which is a primary job of the center. Mangold is a 6-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro. Neither of the two options as his replacement have ever started a game at the NFL level and have appeared in a total of 8 games between them.
Raiders OL vs Jets DL
The numbers show the Raiders have had one of the better offensive lines in the league this season. And they will be going up against probably the absolute best defensive line. The combination of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams is stout. They will give the Raiders all they can handle giving Derek Carr time to throw as well as Latavius Murray lanes to run through. It is definitely the Raiders offensive line's toughest task yet this season.