The Oakland Raiders have a big-time matchup on Sunday against the New York Jets in MetLife Stadium, and this is a winnable game that they need to take advantage of if they want to make the playoffs. The Raiders are the favorites in this game, and for good reason, because they are the better team.
Let’s look at four reasons the Raiders will win their seventh game of the season on Sunday.
4. Daniel Carlson
Daniel Carlson hasn’t gotten a ton of attempts kicking the last couple of weeks, but he is still a guy the Raiders can really trust. On the season, he is 10-for-13 on field goal attempts. Two of the misses were from over 50 yards and there really isn’t any shame in missing those kicks. He is also 27-for-28 on extra-point attempts this season.
If this game is close and the Raiders need to kick a field goal to tie the game or win it, there is no doubt that Carlson can be trusted. The hope is he won’t need to be leaned on, but he is an asset that can be used if the Raiders need him.
3. Derek Carr
Derek Carr is not getting the type of attention he should be, and if he was on a team like the Los Angeles Chargers or Seattle Seahawks, he would be talked about one of the hotter quarterbacks in the league.
He isn’t throwing for 300 or 350 yards a game, but he is making the big throws when he needs to and should continue to do that against the Jets.
In the Raiders’ last game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he completed 86.2 percent of his passes for 292 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
The Jets defense isn’t good against the pass, and Carr should have a great game. Don’t be surprised if this is the game Carr gets up to 300 yards.
2. Jon Gruden
Jon Gruden has gotten a lot of heat for the way he has handled the Raiders since being hired back as the head coach. The team traded away Khalil Mack last season and he got a lot of heat, but when it’s all said and done, they might actually win that trade. He has done a good job of developing the young guys, and it’s not just the young guys like first-round pick Josh Jacobs.
Fourth-round draft pick Maxx Crosby has been an absolute steal and could end up winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The rookies are big impact players for this team and will be key in this game, and going forward.
1. Jets Running Game
The Raiders’ biggest issues on defense have been going against teams with balanced attacks. The Jets’ running game was good in the last game against the Washington Redskins, but the Redskins can’t slow down anyone. Two games ago against the New York Giants, Le’Veon Bell rushed 18 times for only 34 yards and he doesn’t look as explosive as he did with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Their lack of running game is going to hurt them in this game, and it should lead to a lot of success for the Oakland defense.