NFL Week 1 Featured Preview: Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets

Matt Schaub may finally bring stability to Oakland's QB position after recycling starters for three straight seasons.
Matt Schaub may finally bring stability to Oakland’s QB position after recycling starters for three straight seasons.

Oakland Raiders vs. New York Jets
Time: 1 PM ET, Sept 7, 2014
Spread: NYJ -5.5
Total: 40

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Oakland Raiders are pretty much in a full on rebuild after losing 12 starters and turning over at QB for the 4th consecutive season. Opening the road against the mediocre Jets doesn’t bring much hope for relief, with NFL oddsmakers at Bovada setting the line 5.5-points in favor of Geno Smith and the Jets.

Smith had a horrible rookie season, but the team is hoping he’s ready to turn it around. Having a strong offensive line helps, but the Jets have mediocre WRs. In the backfield, the Jets are likely going to be average at best with an over-the-hill Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as the top-2 backs.

The top receiver last year Jeremy Kerley had just 43 receptions, and the Jets need to improve drastically offensively. The team was outscored by 97 points last year but somehow still won half its games. Seeing the Jets improve on last season’s win total would be pretty surprising, and the chances at a 10-win season are pretty remote.

Even so, the Jets have a big advantage over a Raiders team heavily dependent on the run, without the options to really play that way. Darren McFadden has been oft injured and wildly inconsistent, and no one knows if Maurice Jones-Drew has much of anything left at all. Jones-Drew could even be the No. 1 back, which is more a commentary on how dire straits are than on his legend (laugh).   Matt Schaub brings a major upgrade at QB, and that should help the offense dramatically, but it won’t be restructured, either.

On the other end of the ball, the Raiders defense could potentially be pretty decent with defensive coordinator Jason Tarver returning for a third straight season. Five or six new starters will be featured, but the Raiders have a lot of experience on defense, despite losing its best DL man Lamarr Houston to the Bears via free agency.

Sebastian Janikowski is coming off an uncharacteristically horrible season, and the Raiders need his foot to keep them in games. The team got older and more experienced over the offseason, but the Raiders have a very tough schedule and the team will most certainly hit full-on rebuild this offseason, though it is arguably already there.  Expect the Jets to take care of business.  It’s not as though the Jets are ready to ascend to playoff contention, but Oakland is just trying to survive until it can continue to retool next offseason.

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