The Jets had one of their worst performances this season as the Los Angeles Chargers blew them out 27-6 on Monday Night Football. The silver lining is that they didn’t lose any ground in the AFC East race because all of their divisional rivals also lost.
After firing head coach Josh McDaniels, the Las Vegas Raiders won their first game with Antonio Pierce at the interim helm in an impressive 30-6 victory against the Giants. Can the Raiders follow that up with a win against the other New York team on Sunday night?
Here are some of the biggest stories to watch as the Jets look to bounce back:
Can the Jets slow down Davante Adams?
Adams, the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, represents a big threat on the Raiders’ offense. Judging by his comments during the week, the Jets may even be considering breaking from tradition by using Sauce Gardner on him all the time rather than leaving Gardner on one side as they usually do.
In the first four games, Adams averaged 99 receiving yards per game, but he’s only averaged 35 since then. On this basis, perhaps the Jets can get away without giving him extra attention.
The Jets reportedly explored the possibility of acquiring Adams at the trade deadline and he’s an obvious offseason target if Aaron Rodgers returns. Will Adams be eager to impress his potential future employers?
Can Breece Hall have a big day on the ground?
The Raiders have the second-worst run defense in the NFL and are coming off a game where they gave up 90 rushing yards to Saquon Barkley on just 16 carries. This could be a good chance for Hall to post his third 100-yard game of the season, although it would be his first since setting a career-high in the 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos Oct. 8.
Hall is crucial to the Jets’ success. If you rank his eight games so far this season in terms of his yards from scrimmage, you can see that they won his four most productive games and lost the other four.
How will the Jets handle Maxx Crosby?
Crosby, the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, leads the Raiders with 9 1/2 sacks and will be a constant concern for an offense that allowed a season-high eight sacks this past week.
Crosby lines up primarily on the left side of the defense, so it’s unclear at the moment who he will be matched up with most of the time. The right tackle on Monday night was Billy Turner, but he broke a bone in his hand. Duane Brown isn’t ready to return which means the Jets will likely have Max Mitchell back at right tackle and Mekhi Becton on the left side. It will be yet another reconfiguration on the left side of the line with Laken Tomlinson, Joe Tippmann and Xavier Newman in the center of things.
Will the Jets continue to miss too many tackles?
The Jets missed too many tackles last week, many of them coming on the eight-play, 50-yard drive in the first quarter on which the Chargers scored a touchdown to increase their lead to 14-0.
If they can tackle more effectively against the Raiders, this will force rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell into situations where he’ll be forced to throw downfield against the Jets’ talented secondary and with pressure in his face.
While running back Josh Jacobs has had a productive season, he’s averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. He is a big play threat in the passing game or if he can break out to the second level, though.
If Zach Wilson doesn’t bounce back, could the Jets consider a change?
The Jets coaching staff seems keen to distance themselves from the idea that Wilson could be in danger of losing his job and players still seem to be defending him despite a rough game against one of the weaker secondaries in the NFL.
What will happen if they make another slow start against the Raiders on Sunday, though? The risk of alienating frustrated playmakers who aren’t getting the ball or hard-working defensive players who see their great work undermined by poor offensive play is a real concern. Can the coaching staff afford to leave Wilson in the game if the team has failed to get anything going by halftime?