The Las Vegas Raiders defense stepped up in a big way this past Sunday against the New York Giants, registering eight sacks in front of the home crowd. The main culprit, as always, was star edge rusher Maxx Crosby, who is playing his way into winning his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor this season.
Crosby led the Raiders with three sacks of his own in that game, a dominating effort against a New York Giants offensive line that had no response for him. The star was one of seven Raiders who had at least 0.5 sacks in that game, a stunning statistic for a Raiders defense that has been mostly bad for pretty much the last twenty seasons.
On Sunday night, the Raiders draw another opponent who plays their home games inside Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, as the New York Jets come to town. For Crosby and this Raiders pass rush, this could be another golden opportunity, as the Jets offensive line is a banged-up group that just allowed six sacks against the Los Angeles Chargers defensive on Monday night.
Raiders could be in for another 'sack party' on Sunday night
Looking at the New York Jets early injury report for this matchup, two big names stand out on offense, as that is Mekhi Becton and Billy Turner. Both men could end up playing on Sunday night, but if they are out, or hobbled a bit, the Raiders should be able to feast against Zach Wilson and this offense.
Also, you have to take in consideration how bad Wilson is in the pocket, as he has no awareness of what is going on around him. Sure, he is not Tommy DeVito, who was thrust into the starting lineup with Daniel Jones going out early with an injury in Week 9, but he is regarded as one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL, and like I said before, is fresh off being sacked six times this past Monday night.
Crosby and the Raiders defensive line need to set the tone early in this one, and even if they do not register sacks, they have to hit Wilson time and time again. They will get their opportunities against this Jets offensive line even if Becton and Turner do play, so I would expect at least a handful of sacks in this matchup.
The Raiders have a golden opportunity to get to .500 this season before back-to-back games against the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs before the bye week. If they can take advantage of this matchup on Sunday night, the rest of the AFC should be worried about what this team could become under interim head coach Antonio Pierce.
However, first they need to take care of business against Wilson and this banged-up Jets offensive line.