New York Jets (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NY +13.5/OAK -13.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
In week two AFC action on Sunday, the New York Jets come out west to take on the Oakland Raiders. The Jets werent able to start the season in winning form, losing the first of two road games to start the season to the Buffalo Bills, 21-12. It might not get much easier this week against an Oakland team that looks like its ready to pick up where it left off last season, beating the Tennessee Titans in a big road win, 26-16. The bad news for the Jets is that the Raiders do not take weeks off and should be fired up for their home-opener this week.
The Jets loss on Sunday was another bad development for a team that has been snake-bitten recently. A lot of draft picks havent worked out and injuries always seem to crop up to make things even worse. This season, an already battered roster couldnt even make it to the first game intact. Looking at the Jets injury report, you cant help but wonder how different things could be if they were at full-power. They lost key pieces in a lot of places, but especially with a decimated aerial attack.
New York starting QB Josh McCown has become the quintessential biding-time quarterback for bad teams. If draft picks dont pan out, throw McCown out there. Hes really not that bad, certainly not as ragged as his 2-21 record in his last 23 starts would suggest. Still, a certain lack of clutch has figured into that equation, as well. At the same time, his numbers can be quite good considering the utter lack of playmaking that usually surrounds him, such as is the case this season. With a receiving crew highlighted by Jermaine Kearse, Robbie Anderson, and ArDarius Stewart, the pickings are pretty slim. Coming out of the backfield, a worn-out Matt Forte and Bilal Powell will do the heavy lifting.
Whether it is because of departures, poor draft picks, chemistry, or injuries, the defense hasnt been able to grow. This is head coach Todd Bowles area of expertise and it hasnt resonated since they overachieved for a 10-6 mark in 2015. The front seven has some talent with linebackers Darron Lee and Demario Davis, along with linemen like Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, but the voids are what stick out the most on this side of the ball. They are decent at corner with Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne. Otherwise, they are in over their heads a bit. It might not have shown much against a Buffalo offense that can be pedestrian, but it might really shine this week against a strong Oakland offense.
We saw a familiar pattern unfold for the Raiders on Sunday. In a game where it was a battle, the Raiders saved their best for last. More often than not, they deliver their best play late with the game on the line and their opponents usually fold. They seem to mirror the attitude of head coach Jack Del Rio and really have a take-no-prisoners approach late that is hard not to like even for those who arent fans of the Raiders.
Seeing Derek Carr having a good game and looking unaffected after a season-ending injury last year was a good thing. Look for the Oakland faithful to warmly welcome their team even if the Raiders move to Vegas is imminent. Look for abundant energy from Marshawn Lynch as he returns to his beloved hometown. He looked pretty good in week one after coming out of a one-year retirement. Joining two top receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree is a good tight end in Jared Cook, who looks like a good fit in this offense. Other pieces including clutch receiver Andre Roberts and Cordarrelle Patterson should also help this season. Making it all take flight is an offensive line that has gotten better and better.
There are some difference-makers on this Oakland defense. Khalil Mack is one of the games best players on defense. Bruce Irvin adds an edge in the middle. Corners Sean Smith and David Amerson, along with safeties Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph really get after it. Sure, theyre not always going to be the most-robust defense. Teams can put up numbers and points against this group. But this defense is a big part of Oaklands growing ability to take over games late. They tend to play their best late and in the most urgent situations. A lot of opposing drives die a premature death and when the offense needs space to mount a comeback or break open a close game, the defense enables it to happen by stepping up their play.
Oakland made it to the playoffs last season for the first time in a long time. There were Raiders fans about to get their drivers licenses who had never seen their team in the postseason. And the Raiders now the act accordingly as a winning team. Long-starved for success, they dont anything for granted, such as weak-looking teams like the Jets coming into town. Look for a big game from Lynch and the entire team. Its never easy laying the big number, but the feeling here is that in this case, the Raiders should run over the Jets this week.
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