Tue, 26 Jan 2021

Sam Darnold, Passing Offense Could Be Effective Sunday vs. Las Vegas by Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange & Olivia Landis

Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: How can the Jets beat the Raiders for a second consecutive year?

EA: The Jets played excellent complementary football in their 34-3 rout of the Raiders last season. They bottled up Josh Jacobs and the run game, got off the field on third down, scored on defense and made things so difficult for Derek Carr that Head Coach Jon Gruden mercifully pulled him late in the third quarter. On the other side of the ball, Sam Darnold reached 300 yards for the fourth time in his career and accounted for 3 TDs. They also used a trick play along the way, pulling out all the stops in victory. For this year's version of the Jets to be successful, they again have to be stout against the run, force a couple of turnovers and win on third down against a Carr-led offense that ranks No. 3 in that category (49.3%). While Carr has only 4 interceptions, he's fumbled 11 times this season and lost 8. On the other side of the ledger, Darnold has to protect the ball because there will be plays to be made against a Raiders defense that yields 29 points a contest. If there was a week for it all to come together for the Jets' offense, this might be it because Darnold is getting more comfortable, with each rep, with Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims. But expect a focused Raiders team this time around - they were hammered last week in Atlanta and they need a victory to realistically stay in the playoff hunt.

EG: I think the recipe for success is similar to last year - stop the run and attack the Raiders pass defense. The Jets defense last year held RB Josh Jacobs -- who this season ranks No. 5 in the NFL in rushing yards and is tied for fifth with 9 rushing TDs -- to 34 yards on 10 carries. Jacobs is dealing with an ankle injury, so we'll see how effective he is if he plays. The Jets defense played well last week against the run in the first half against the Dolphins, holding them to 16 yards. Miami, however, finished with 104 yards. For the Jets to win this game, they'll need to go after the Raiders passing defense that ranks No. 27 in the NFL, allowing an average of 265 Yd/G. Sam Darnold had one of the best games of his career against the Raiders last year, throwing for 315 yards and 2 TDs (he ran for a third score). His 127.8 QB rating was the second-best of his career. The offense eclipsed 400 total yards last year and had 5 receivers with at least a 20-yard catch. While teams change, the Raiders have a similar defense and the Jets receivers have been impressive the last three games as Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims have combined for 22 catches, 434 yards and 3 TDs.

RL: The Jets should focus on three things to beat the Raiders at MetLife for the second time in two seasons: turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Take 'em, don't make 'em. Las Vegas has lost 11 fumbles this season, second-most in the NFL. David Carr lost 3 stripsacks last week, which led to 13 Atlanta points in the Falcons' unexpected 44-6 rout. He's suffered eight strips this season, in effect losing all eight (one was fumbled out of bounds on fourth down). The Jets, meanwhile, forced four fumbles at MetLife, vs. Miami, for the first time in more than five years, recovering two on back-to-back series. Quinnen Williams was a monster with 1.5 sacks, a third QB hit, two backfield pass rejections and an FF on a run. If "Q" can fire it up again and lead some heavy TO pressure, it could negate the Derek Carr/Raiders offense, which had been producing well up until the game in the ATL. Then on the offensive side, Sam, just don't do it. Darnold wants to make plays, yes, but he needs to rein in his impulses and not throw any bad picks. His first TD pass in five starts would also be welcome, but most important is that it's time for the Jets to rise up, complement each other and play close to error-free ball for 60 minutes. Do that and the big payoff could be the first W of the season.

OL: The Jets' offense has had a tough time scoring this touchdowns season. The offense is averaging 267.8 yards per game (No. 32) and 4.6 yards per play (No. 32). In multiple games this season, however, the team has found success throwing down field to WRs Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder. So, I think if the Jets can establish the run game and use the talented trio in the passing game, the Raiders' defense may have trouble defending -- the unit ranks No. 27 in passing yards allowed per game (265). The larger task may fall on the defense. It will be up to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' unit - which ranks in the top 11 in the league in both rushing yards allowed per game (111) and per play (3.84) - to first stop the run and force QB Derek Carr to throw the ball. From there, if the Green & White's young secondary can play solid defense and keep Las Vegas out of the end zone, the Jets will have a better chance to capture their first victory of the season.

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