Match-up 101: Determining the Raiders and Jets Winner

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Dec 8, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece (45) runs with the ball while being chased by New York Jets safety Dawan Landry (26) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The first Oakland Raiders player I’d like to discuss had a big game against the Jets in 2013.  Now, before you put me on blast for highlighting a previous year’s performance, consider this matchup with an open mind.

Marcel Reece has been underutilized in the past due to inconsistency in the Raiders quarterback room.  We’ve seen flashes of Reece, but we’ve yet to see the full capability of The Only Nation’s favorite fullback.  Last year during the Metlife battle, Reece was forced to start at running back during Matt McGloin’s 4th career start.  At this point in the season, (week 14) Oakland’s playoff chances were out-of-reach and Dennis Allen’s future as a head coach was in question.

With that being said, the 2014 matchup is significantly diverse.  The Raiders now have legitimate depth at the running back position and Reece has contingency to fly under the radar during week 1.  Even if the Jet’s express a “no fly zone” in New York, Reece will have an uncanny opportunity to expose a solid Rex Ryan defense.  Not only does Oakland possess a drastically improved offensive line, but the play-action offense they have been practicing will benefit their fullback tremendously.  With Derek Carr making his first start, expect the Jet’s defense to crowd the box and blitz early and often.

“..We support each other as a team.. but the bigger picture is we’re all in here for one reason and that’s to win [football] games.”

Marcel Reece

Having an explosive security blanket will be key for a rookie QB that lacks ideal tight end options.  While immersing himself in a hybrid-role, Marcel Reece should be able to take advantage of inferior match-ups while allowing his receiving background to take over.  If Oakland can get Reece into the open field, he should mimic an outcome that was present in the late-season showdown last year. If he fails to aid the Raiders in exposing a sketchy Jets secondary, then Carr could struggle.  The key to winning this game will be the performance of Carr’s supporting cast, starting with Marcel Reece.