The Las Vegas Raiders tight end group is one of the best in the business, and they should dominate this New York Jets defense on Sunday.
The New York Jets defense is a tale of two phases of football, and on Sunday, the Las Vegas Raiders are going to exploit one of those phases. On the one hand, their front-seven is sound against the run, led by soon to be NFL star, Quinnen Williams. They only allow 3.8 yards per attempt, good for top-5 in the NFL.
On the other hand, they are among the worst (or the worst) against the pass this year. The Jets are the only defense to allow over 70% completion percentage in 2020 and are in the bottom-four of just about every statistical category defending the pass, including total yards, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating.
Jets defense is atrocious against tight ends
One area where the Jets are struggling is covering tight ends, especially in the red zone. In their last four games alone, they have allowed four red-zone touchdown receptions to tight ends.
The Jets’ issues covering tight ends are two-fold. They do not have a quality matchup player in their secondary or linebacker corps who is capable of playing man-to-man against a tight end without help. They also miss tackles, so when that player makes a catch, there is potential for extra yards.
The Jets defense over the past four games has allowed 204 yards receiving, including 55 yards after the catch, and four touchdowns to tight ends. Over that same amount of time, Darren Waller has 197 yards receiving, including 40 yards after the catch, and two touchdowns.
Various fantasy outlets have ranked Waller in the top tight ends to start this week because of the favorable matchup on paper.
Waller has suffered from a recent case of the drops and needs to have a confidence-boosting, bounce-back game before the Raiders make a possible playoff push. There is no better matchup for Waller going forward, like the games, the Raiders will play after this week are going to be good defensive teams in the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, or in-conference teams that have a documented gameplan to defend Waller.
But it’s not just Waller who stands to capitalize on this game. Red zone opportunities should come against this Jets defense, and a veteran like Jason Witten should uncover at will against this team. Witten has only seen 11 passes thrown his way in 2020, however, he has caught every single one of them including the impressive touchdown reception from the Chiefs game in Week 11. Whoever gets the call this week, the tight end group should have a productive day.