AP File Photo: New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (15) is sacked by Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Poyer (21) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer
OAKLAND — Sunday’s 26-16 road win in Nashville (the team’s third straight win at Nissan Stadium in as many seasons), gave Oakland its first win of the year and marked just the first time since the 2001 and 2002 seasons that the Raiders open consecutive seasons with a victory.
Oakland (1-0) won their first game of the season last year, 35-34 over the Saints.
Now, Oakland didn’t follow up that close win in New Orleans with a win in their home opener the very next week, losing to the eventual NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons 35-28.
But this year’s version of the Silver and Black shouldn’t worry about experiencing another letdown this time around, especially with the bottom-feeding New York Jets (0-1) visiting the Black Hole Sunday in Oakland’s home opener at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Kickoff is at 1:25 p.m. PT.
Offensively, the Raiders and Jets are on different stratospheres. The Raiders hold a 24-19-2 edge over the Jets all-time.
Oakland has the clearer edge at quarterback, engineered by the 26-year-old Derek Carr who continues to mature into one of the league’s top passers.
Against Tennessee on Sunday, Carr out-performed Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, completing 22-of-32 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 114.3 passer rating in a matchup between two of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks.
Mariota finished 25-of-41 for 256 yards and a 78.9 passer rating to go along with a 10-yard scoring run in the first quarter.
In the last matchup against the Jets in 2015, Carr thrashed New York, throwing for 333 yards and four touchdowns with a blistering 130.9 passer rating in a 34-20 victory in Oakland.
The Jets have played musical chairs at quarterback in recent years, going through Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith and are now piloted by journeyman Josh McCown, with holdovers Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty still on the roster.
McCown completed 26-of-39 passes for 187 yards and two interceptions in a 21-12 loss at Buffalo on Sunday. He did engineer an 11-play, 75-yard drive that he capped off with quarterback sneak for a touchdown on fourth down that pulled the Jets within two points late in the third quarter.
In 16 NFL seasons, McCown is 18-43 in 61 career starts, including 3-23 in his last 26 starts.
Carr has a great arsenal of offensive weapons at his disposal, with wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, and tight end Jared Cook.
Crabtree led Oakland with six catches (on seven targets) for 83 yards, while Cooper (five catches on a team-high 13 targets for 62 yards) scored Oakland’s first touchdown of the season on a 8-yard catch that Cooper fought off a hoard of Tennessee defenders. The Titans gift-wrapped Oakland’s first score of the game after failing to recover an onside-kick on the game’s opening possession that rookie Shalom Luani recovered at the 50-yard line.
Cook, a former Titan, finished with five catches for 56 yards.
Outside of former Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who by all accounts wasn’t the biggest name in the Seahawks’ wide receivers’ meeting room, the Jets have nobody at wide receiver that will scare defenses.
Against Buffalo, Kearse led all Jets receivers with seven catches (on nine targets) for 59 yards.
Second-year wide receiver Robby Anderson is viewed as New York’s best deep threat. Nothing more, nothing less.
Oakland’s ground game is head and shoulders better than New York’s.
Marshawn Lynch looked refreshed in his first game in over a year following his retirement, carrying the football 18 times for 76 yards –10 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter.
Lynch reminded us that he is still “Beast Mode” late in the fourth quarter with one of his signature powerful runs that broke the spirit of the Titans and put the game away for the Raiders.
With Oakland nursing a 23-16 lead and facing a second-and-eight from the Titan 40-yard line, Lynch eluded one defender before charging through the 6-foot-1, 305-pound Jurrell Casey that made a thunderous sound throughout Nissan Stadium and saw Casey fall like a ton of bricks.
That’s what a guy like Lynch brings to the Raiders, a guy who will finish off runs that are just back-breaking for a defense in the fourth quarter when its trying to catch its breath after dealing with Oakland’s aerial attack.
When the Raiders get a lead late in a game, Lynch will become the ultimate closer because teams won’t want to tackle a 5-foot-11, 215-pound speeding rhino that hits like an anvil.
Veteran running backs Bilal Powell and Matt Forte powers New York’s running game, with the duo accounting for all 38 of New York’s rushing yards against the Bills.
Oakland’s defense surrendered 95 yards on the ground to Tennessee.
New York’s defense had leaks all over it Sunday, yielding 408 yards of total offense to the Bills. Buffalo’s starting running back LeSean McCoy gauged the Jets for 110 yards on 22 carries and quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 16-of-28 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
McCoy added five catches for 49 yards, proving that the Jets don’t handle running backs who can catch the football out of the backfield.
Lynch can definitely catch the football, but running backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are adequate receivers out of the backfield as well and will give New York’s defense fits come Sunday if matched on a linebacker.
The Raiders open as 14-point favorite at home by most odds-makers and with the Jets being a very young and inexperienced team at key positions, Oakland has the chance for a blowout win in front of Raider Nation.
Prediction: Raiders win going away, 34-10, behind a 300-yard and three touchdown performance from Carr sprinkled with 15-20 carries from Lynch for 80-90 yards and a touchdown.
The aforementioned Crabtree could be in for a big game against the Jets.
The last time Crabtree played New York, he was unstoppable hauling in seven catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.