The Oakland Raiders began the 2017 season the right way — with an impressive upset win over the Tennessee Titans. The Raiders looked good both on offense and defense in their 26-16 victory.
Here is look at what the Raiders need to do against the 0-1 New York Jets in Oakland’s home opener Sunday:
The Raiders are a 14-point favorite over the Jets, who are likely the worst team the NFL has seen in a few years. The Raiders should steamroll the Jets. Not only do the Raiders have much more talent, but this is the Raiders’ home opener. There aren’t that many games left in Oakland before the Raiders leave for Las Vegas. Emotions will be sky high. The Jets are being thrown to the Lions. That’s how it looks on paper. The Raiders must do their part and dissect the Jets early. Oakland must set the tone on offense and defense. Oakland must start the game by outclassing a much weaker opponent. The Jets can’t think they are in this game after halftime. Oakland needs to pounce quickly and cruise home.
Dominate in trenches
The Raiders are better than the Jets in basically every area. The best way to beat down an inferior opponent in on the offensive and defensive lines. This game will get out of hand if both Oakland lines do their parts. One of the Jets’ few solid players is defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The Raiders need to keep him in check. Also, expect Oakland pass-rusher Khalil Mack to have a big game. He feasts against poor opponents.
Carr to Cooper
Expect the Raiders to work on their quick-strike game in an attempt to bury the Jets early. The Raiders’ offense was good but not great last week in Tennessee. The passing game was spotty. That happens early in the season, especially with a new offensive coordinator. Todd Downing will continue to work to get an early-season rhythm going. The best way is for quarterback Derek Carr to connect well with top receiver Amari Cooper. Carr targeted Cooper nine times against the Titans. Cooper caught just four of them. They want to work on that and this game is a good time to do it.
Let young defensive players eat
One of the more promising aspects of the win in Nashville was how so many young Oakland defensive players performed. The Raiders’ defense wasn’t great, but it made plays when it needed to. Best of all, young players made the plays. Oakland needs to hope defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, linebackers Cory James and Marquel Lee, and safety Karl Joseph all make plays Sunday and continue to develop.
Unleash Marshawn Lynch
One of the reasons why this will be an emotional afternoon in Oakland is the presence of Marshawn Lynch. The Oakland native son is making his Raider home debut, playing in Oakland for just the second time in his career. The reason why Lynch ended his retirement was to play in Oakland. The fans will go nuts when he is introduced and every time he touches the ball. Lynch plays on the fuel of emotion, unlike most players. The Raiders need to feed off that. Expect Lynch to get the ball early; then he will be fed the ball to eat the clock when the Raiders get a comfortable lead.
- Khalil Mack dominated in Week 1 despite modest stats
- Young impact players who give Oakland defense hope
- A hole in Oakland’s cover-2 — and a possible solution