Oakland has the NFL's #1 pass defense, and they have a shutdown corner in Nnamdi Asomugha. He is having a Champ Bailey-type season, but isn't getting much attention due to the Raiders bad record. And if the Jets attempt to throw away from Asomugha, the other corner is 2005 first round pick Fabian Washington, who isn't bad himself. And let's not forget the Raiders also possess the top safety from the 2006 draft, Mike Huff, who covers like a cornerback.
At linebacker, their weakside 'backer, Thomas Howard, and his 4.5 speed, has the mobility to cover any of the Jets targets, so if they get a wideout on him, it won't be a mismatch.
How good is the Raiders pass defense? In a recent game against Houston, they held the Texans to (-5) yards passing for the game. The game!
Helping this team's impressive group of cover guys is one of the NFL's best pass rushes, led by defensive end Derrick Burgess, who will be going to his second straight Pro Bowl. He is going to be an absolute nightmare for Jets rookie left tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson to deal with. After a couple of down seasons, Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp has reverted back to his Tampa Bay Pro Bowl form with nine sacks.
And don't assume the Jets will be able to run effectively against the Raiders low-ranked run defense. Their ranking is a little misleading. The team has been so far behind in so many games, team's have run a great deal on them in the second half of games.
This isn't a bad run defense. Middle linebacker Kirk Morrison is an underrated player, who makes a ton of tackles. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly is a beast inside at 6-6, 300 pounds, and very hard to handle with one blocker. Another real good run defender is free safety Stu Schweigert, a big-time hitter.
And leading this terrific defense is Rob Ryan, the son of defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan. Rob Ryan is doing such a good job running the Raiders defense, he could end up as a the team's next head coach.
While the Jets shouldn't have too much of a hard time containing the Raiders moribund offense, the Silver-and-Black defense will likely make this a close game that could come down to a field goal.
So don't put this game in the win column just yet.
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