It's bounce-back time for the New York Jets, who went into Foxboro last week and played very well in a 30-23 loss to the Patriots. The Jets showed that they can compete with one of the top teams in the league but that they are not quite there yet. They're a team that has vastly improved from last year's 4-12 campaign, but are still in need of some tinkering. In Sunday’s opponent, there is an Oakland Raiders team that is also on the right track (4:05 p.m., CBS).
The Raiders are 3-3 with a good, solid core of young players. In a division that is rapidly getting old, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Oakland on the ascend and challenging for an AFC West title soon.
So, this isn’t your mother’s Oakland Raiders. This isn’t a team that is an easy "W" for the Jets. The Jets will need to go into a difficult place to play and beat a hungry (and fearless team).
Three Things to Watch from the Jets in Week 8:
The Black Hole – Oakland Coliseum is not an easy place to play. It’s an old stadium with no plush amenities and there is a baseball diamond right in the middle of the field that, even when covered up with turf, is still a mess to play on. And then there are the Raiders fans, who have a reputation for being a tad bit, ahem, "rowdy."
“I played in Denver so I’ve battled against them a few times. That’s my favorite stadium to play in,” Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “Every time before the game, I’ll run to the ‘Black Hole’ and I’ll just stare at them and mean mug them and they just throw stuff at you. It’s fun. It’s great football.”
Now with the Raiders winning games, Oakland isn’t just intimidating in the stands anymore but finally has a team worthy of their hardcore fans.
No Ivory, No Cry – A quadriceps injury to running back Chris Ivory should, in theory, limit the Jets offense. Ivory after all is the team’s leading rusher with 501 yards and also leads the Jets with four rushing touchdowns. But even as Ivory was limited against the Patriots last week, the Jets passing offense stepped up. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns, his first game of the regular season without an interception.
Hanging with Cooper – It is next to impossible to shut down Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, at least that is what the San Diego Chargers are likely to say after last week’s game. The rookie first round pick had five catches for 133 yards and a touchdown in spearheading a Raiders win. Cooper is looking the part of a big-time, big-play wide receiver and the attention he will receive from the Jets might evidence just that. He might just get a trip to "Revis Island" this weekend.