Oakland Raiders Vs. Jets Preview: Keys to the Game

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Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) celebrates a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

2. Force Ryan Fitzpatrick to Beat You

The Jets also come into Sunday’s game with the NFL’s third-ranked rushing offense, managing 136.5 yards per game. While this is impressive, consider that the team is second in the NFL in rushing plays, and only averaging a middle-of-the-pack 4.3 yards per rush – respectable but not great. With Bilal Powell out and Chris Ivory playing with a hamstring injury, the Raiders – the NFL’s 3rd ranked run defense – should focus on doing what they do well and shut down the Jets’ rushing attack, and dare the Jets to air it out against them.

The Jets’ passing attack is led by 33-year old journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. While Fitzpatrick is certainly not among the league’s most elite passers, he has played fairly well for the Jets this season, throwing for over 1,400 yards and 11 TD’s. He also had a 3-0 record against the Raiders as a starter, and has thrown 7 TD’s to only 1 INT against the Raiders in his career. He has probably the most talented wide receiver he’s ever played with this year in New York, as well, in Brandon Marshall, who through six games has 41 receptions for 578 yards and four scores.

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  • But Fitzpatrick has not protected the ball very well this season, throwing 7 picks through six games, including a 3-INT outing against a very mediocre Philadelphia defense in the Jets’ first loss of the season. He threw at least one pick in each of the Jets’ first five games before breaking that streak last week against New England.

    Meanwhile, the Raiders secondary has tightened up over the last two games when it mattered: Philip Rivers was on pace for his worst game of the year through three quarters last week before the Raiders defensive scheme went soft in the fourth quarter, and Peyton Manning threw two picks and no scores a couple weeks before that. The Raiders defense has recorded an interception in five consecutive games, including two picks in each of their last two outings.

    The Raiders secondary is not the strength of its defense, nor is the Jets’ passing game the strength of its offense. The Jets will attempt to establish the run early, and Ken Norton and his unit will almost definitely focus on shutting it down. With Eric Decker listed as questionable and likely out of the lineup, Fitzpatrick will have to rely nearly exclusively on Brandon Marshall to get the pass game going, and the Raiders have done a respectable job of limiting opposing teams’ best wideouts.

    If the Jets run game can’t get going early, it could open the door for the Raiders to build a quick lead, and the Jets may have to abandon the run relatively early in the game. An interception-prone quarterback with only one real weapon having to take chances against a ball-hawking defense that can rush the passer is not a favorable matchup for the Jets.

    Next: Keys to the Game: Murray Needs 15