For the first time all year, Football Outsiders’ 30,000 rest of season simulations has the 6-4 Raiders making the playoffs more than half the time.
At 50.5 percent, Oakland’s playoff hopes are looking more real by the week. They’ll potentially get yet another boost this week if they don’t succumb to a potential trap game against the Jets on Sunday.
The Jets are one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, but they’ve shown flashes of high-level competence. After two straight wins, Sam Darnold and Co. will be confident when they host the Raiders despite their 3-7 record. As shown below, the Jets are No. 32 in pass offense DVOA this season, but that takes into account all the time they spent with Luke Falk and Trevor Siemian under center.
If the Raiders can fluster Darnold into bad decisions by taking advantage of an offensive line that ranks No. 26 in the league by ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate metric, they should be able to cruise to a win. Despite the pass rush clocking in at No. 27 in Pass Rush Win Rate this season, the silver and black front is trending upwards.
The Jets enter this week with a 21.1 percent chance of drafting in the top five, while Oakland has a mere 5.7 percent chance at the Bears pick landing that high. After grabbing their sixth win, and with an expected mean wins of nine, the Raiders own pick is more likely to end up in the 15-to-20 range.
As always, click here for an in-depth explanation of DVOA and DYAR.
Overall DVOA: 2.5 percent above average, No. 11 overall
Team Offense: 12.6 percent above average, No. 7 overall
(No. 7 overall in pass offense, No. 12 overall in rush offense)
Team Defense: 9.8 percent below average, No. 29 overall
(No. 23 overall in pass defense, No. 22 overall in rush defense)
Overall DVOA: 23.6 percent below average, No. 28 overall
Team Offense: 30.4 percent below average, No. 32 overall
(No. 32 overall in pass offense, No. 29 overall in rush offense)
Team Defense: 4 percent above average, No. 11 overall
(No. 21 overall in pass defense, No. 2 overall in rush defense)
Derek Carr had an impressive 25-of-29 game, yet he still dropped from No. 5 to No. 7 in FO’s DYAR rankings. Of the 33 quarterbacks who qualify with a minimum of 165 passes thrown this season, Darnold ranks No. 31.
The running back leaderboard remains unchanged at the very top, with Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Dalvin Cook placing as the only runners above Josh Jacobs by Rushing DYAR. That No. 4 mark may take a hit this week as the Raiders face a stout front against the run. Expect the Jets to load the box, blanket Darren Waller with perhaps the best safety in the game in Jamal Adams and dare Carr to beat them by throwing to Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones.
Those options might not be all that bad, however. Williams jumped from No. 18 to No. 13 in Receiving DYAR this week, while moved from No. 36 to No. 33 in the league. That No. 13 mark puts Williams just above elite options like DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Golladay and Tyreek Hill. Meanwhile, Waller fell from No. 2 to No. 3 among tight ends, with Travis Kelce and Austin Hooper placing ahead of him.
For New York, things look a lot worse in terms of DYAR. After Joe Mixon ran all over the Raiders front last week, he moved from a dead last No. 35 spot to No. 32 this week. Assuming his spot at No. 35? Le’Veon Bell.
The Jets top qualifying players on the Receiving DYAR list are Jamison Crowder (No. 35), Demaryius Thomas (No. 46) and Robby Anderson (No. 56).
When doing a quick comparison of the Raiders and Jets in the trenches, Oakland is No. 6 in the NFL in adjusted sack rate and No. 4 in adjusted line yards (a metric that assesses run blocking performance), while the Jets are a lowly No. 31. and No. 29, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Jets are No. 1 in the league in defensive adjusted line yards, but just No. 19 in defensive adjusted sack rate. The Raiders place at No. 9 in the former and No. 13 in the latter. With defensive adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate taken into account the Raiders defensive line grades out fairly favorably.