Week 1 - vs. Oakland Raiders
2013 Record: 4-12
The Raiders are a somewhat difficult team to read given how much change they have undergone this offseason, notably at the quarterback position where veteran Matt Schaub will likely hold off second round pick Derek Carr to start opening day.
The Raiders lost some key players but spent the money to replace them, including signing former Jets right tackle Austin Howard. The likes of Justin Tuck and Maurice Jones-Drew are bigger names in the league than Rashad Jennings and Lamarr Houston, but at this point are they worthy replacements?
The Jets couldn’t have asked for a better opening game, starting in front of the home crowd playing an opponent that finished 4-12 the previous season and is making a difficult trip from the west to east coast.
1. A fast start
This is a difficult first week for Oakland and its not a team that is built to come from behind. Getting ahead early will put the pressure on Matt Schaub to make things happen and take the pressure off Geno Smith.
2. Limit the Raiders running attack
Oakland’s strength offensively last season was their ability to run the ball, and although they will have high hopes for Matt Schaub, Oakland will not want the game to be forced into his hands.
3. A smart first week
All eyes of course will be on Geno Smith on opening day, and Oakland’s investment this into their pass rush could make this a difficult game for Smith. Oakland isn’t likely to be an opponent where the Jets need a strong game from Smith to win, but as always a quarterback needs to play efficiently to give his team the best chance to win.
The Jets should win the opener, and I would not be surprised if this is a win that sends hopes into overdrive much how the 2011 opening day victory versus Buffalo did. The Jets match up well with Oakland, particularly in the Jets’ ability to defend the run, and if the Jets get off to a quick start they won’t look back.