The New York Jets had their three-game winning streak snapped by the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football last week. Now they head to Las Vegas for the first time in their history, hoping to avoid being humiliated on national television again. The 4-5 Las Vegas Raiders blew out the New York Giants in their first game since firing head coach Josh McDaniels on Sunday. They will be looking to ride those positive vibes to another win that could drop the Jets back under .500 for the first time since before the bye week. According to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Jets are favored by 1 point in this game.
The Raiders named fourth round rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell their new starter ahead of the Giants game, and he responded with an efficient first half performance to help guide them to the easy win. Can the Jets do a better job of putting pressure on the rookie and force him into mistakes?
Despite being benched, Jimmy Garoppolo was active last week ahead of Brian Hoyer, having gone 3-3 in his six starts so far this season. New head coach Antonio Pierce said we probably haven’t seen the last of Garoppolo, who signed a three-year deal worth over $24 million per year in the offseason. However, recent reports suggest the Raiders could be planning to cut ties with the veteran.
The Raiders offensive line suffered a blow this week as left tackle Kolton Miller was unable to practice due to a shoulder injury. He’s been listed as doubtful. Miller is the Raiders’ best offensive lineman.
When Miller missed a game last year, right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor moved over to the left and backup Thayer Munford stepped in at right tackle. Munford also started a few games for Eluemunor earlier this year. Eluemunor is solid, but he has given up five sacks to lead the team and had a team-high 10 penalties last season.
Andre James returns as the starting center, with Dylan Parham returning at left guard. Parham was the Raiders’ top draft pick last year in the third round, but he struggled in pass protection as he gave up a team-high six sacks and a ton of pressure. He’s shown some improvement this season.
The Raiders have four returning starters, with the only new starter being right guard Greg Van Roten, who was with the Jets a few seasons ago.
Guard Jordan Meredith and tackle Justin Herron are also on the bench, but they have combined to play just 61 offensive snaps since the start of last season.
With Miller out, they needed to elevate someone from the practice squad. Guard Netane Muti was elevated last week, but tackle Brandon Parker was elevated this week instead.
All Pro running back Josh Jacobs has rushed for over 500 yards and is third on the team with 28 pass receptions, but he’s had a disappointing season after his offseason holdout. Jacobs is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Clearly, he’s one of the Raiders’ biggest threats to make a big play though.
Zamir White has been the main backup, but he’s averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden contribute more on special teams.
Fullback Jakob Johnson is also on the roster, although he’s been listed as questionable for Sunday night.
The Raiders’ top pass-catching threat is Davante Adams, who could be a candidate to join the Jets next season. Adams had a good start to the season, averaging 99 yards per game in the first four weeks, but his production has fallen off lately. He’s averaging just 35 yards per game since then.
Former New England Patriot Jakobi Meyers has been a solid number two, as he has 40 catches and leads the team with five touchdowns.
In the slot, Hunter Renfrow caught over 100 passes for over a thousand yards in 2021 but his production has dropped off dramatically since then. He has just 12 receptions this season.
DeAndre Carter and third round rookie Tre Tucker have just nine catches between them, but Tucker has shown some big play abilities already.
At tight end, the Raiders’ starter is Austin Hooper and they also added Michael Mayer in the second round of the draft. Each of them has 13 receptions so far, but no touchdowns. Jesper Horsted is the number three, but he doesn’t play much.
The Raiders’ offense is spearheaded by Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby, who leads the team with 9.5 sacks. In fact, Crosby is the only Raiders player with more than two sacks.
Malcolm Koonce is listed as the other starting end, although first round rookie Tyree Wilson gets a lot of playing time too. Isaac Rochell also sees regular action on the edge, and Malik Reed is available in reserve.
On the inside, Bilal Nichols and Jerry Tillery are listed as the starters, but Adam Butler, John Jenkins and third round rookie Byron Young also get rotational reps. Seventh round rookie Nesta Jade Silvera hasn’t played much yet.
Robert Spillane plays a full-time role at linebacker and leads the Raiders in tackles. He also has two interceptions this year.
Luke Masterson and converted safety Divine Deablo are also listed as starters, although neither plays a full-time role.
Curtis Bolton, Amari Burney and Jaylon Smith are all also on the roster. Burney, a sixth round rookie, started against the Giants as Masterson was inactive, but Bolton and Smith haven’t played much yet.
The Raiders’ best cornerback is Marcus Peters, who leads them with five pass breakups. However, he’s been listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game.
Fourth round rookie Jakorian Bennett started the first four games on the outside, but Amik Robertson has been starting outside in recent weeks. Robertson has two interceptions. Veteran Nate Hobbs is the Raiders’ main slot cornerback.
At safety, Trevon Moehrig and Marcus Epps are the starters. Moehrig has filled up the stat sheet with two sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups, but he has also given up three touchdowns in coverage.
Tyler Hall has also seen some action off the bench at cornerback and Isaiah Pola-Mao has seen some reserve reps at safety. Fifth round rookie Chris Smith has only seen action on special team.
The Raiders’ kicking game is solid, with All Pro Daniel Carlson at kicker and Pro Bowler AJ Cole as the punter. Carlson has missed three field goals already this year. Cole is averaging an impressive 52 yards per punt so far this season. He’s one of three players averaging 52 yards or more, despite the fact that the NFL record was 51.4 until last season.
Carter is the team’s return specialist and his numbers are solid, although his longest kickoff return is 40 yards and his longest punt return is 18 yards so far this year. Abdullah is the backup kick returner and Renfrow is the backup on punts.
In coverage, Abdullah is a solid gunner who leads the team with six special teams tackles. DJ Turner has done well after being elevated from the practice squad the past few weeks to be the other gunner, and he has been elevated again for Sunday.
Turner had two tackles in kick coverage last week, while the likes of Bolton, Bolden and Pola-Mao have been productive in the past.