New York Jets (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS), Week 3 NFL, 4:05 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 25, 2011, O.co Coliseum, Alameda, Calif. TV: CBS
by Ryno, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYJ -3.5/Oak +3.5
Over/Under Total: 41
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The New York Jets and Oakland Raiders are both off to a good start to the season. The Jets are 2-0 after escaping with what many would consider a “lucky” victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 and then blowing out the Jacksonville Jaguars 32-3 in Week 2. The Raiders played two close road games, winning by a field goal at the Denver Broncos in Week 1 and then losing by a field goal at the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. The Raiders will play their first home game in Week 3, while the Jets will play their first road game.
The Jets defense has been dominant in their first two games with six sacks, five interceptions and a safety. They also have a blocked punt for a touchdown. Their offense hasn’t been spectacular, but their defense and special teams have really been the main reasons they’re off to a 2-0 start.
Jets running back Shonn Greene has just 75 rushing yards and one touchdown in two games. Mark Sanchez has thrown for 517 passing yards (the same amount Tom Brady had in one game for the Patriots in Week 1), four touchdowns and three interceptions. Dustin Keller has been a standout tight end for the Jets with 11 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns thus far. Santonio Holmes has been Sanchez’s second most popular target with nine receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown.
The Raiders have been staying in games in the first two weeks with a solid running game and efficient quarterback play by Jason Campbell. The running game is led by Darren McFadden, who has totaled 222 rushing yards, 77 receiving yards, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown thus far. Campbell has thrown for 428 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception. His favorite target has been McFadden, but rookie wide out Denarius Moore leads the team in receiving yards with 146 and a touchdown on just five receptions.
As long as the Raiders are able to run the ball and Campbell makes safe passes to move the ball down the field without turning it over, the Raiders have an efficient offensive attack that can keep the Jets off the field. The problem is that the Jets have a very good defense. Will the Raiders be able to run the ball against the Jets? Will Campbell be able to move the ball down the field against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie? If the answers to those questions are affirmative, the Raiders may be able to control the game.
The Jets have gone up against two solid running backs in their first two games. In Week 1, they held Cowboys running back Felix Jones to 44 rushing yards on 17 carries while also forcing him to fumble once. They had a tough time stopping Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing attack, allowing 342 passing yards. But then again, not many teams have the selection of wide outs like Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. In Week 2, the Jets allowed Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew to run for 88 yards on 18 carries. The Jags don’t have much in terms of a passing attack, but for what it’s worth they held Jacksonville to 111 passing yards and intercepted them four times.
The Raiders defense wasn’t too impressive against the Broncos or Bills. They especially couldn’t stop the Bills offense, giving up 38 points, 264 passing yards, 217 rushing yards, three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. The Jets don’t have an incredibly powerful offense but they do have some weapons in Greene, Holmes and Plaxico Burress that can make plays and put some points on the board.
Coming into the season, most expected the Jets to be a playoff team or at least compete for a playoff spot, while most expected the Raiders to be a decent team but not a playoff contender. Neither team has changed that view much thus far, as the Jets have started 2-0 with a nice win over the Cowboys and a blowout win over the Jaguars while the Raiders have played close battles with the Broncos and Bills, neither of which is a team expected to be great. This is why the Jets are a 3.5-point favorite on the road.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the Raiders plus the points!
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