The Las Vegas Raiders enjoyed rare success on offense in their most recent game, while the New York Jets continued to sputter on that side of the ball.
With rookie Aidan O’Connell at the controls, the Raiders (4-5) will look for a fourth win in six outings on Sunday night when they host Zach Wilson and the Jets (4-4).
O’Connell recorded his first career win as a starter last Sunday, completing 16 of 25 passes for 209 yards in a 30-6 romp over the New York Giants.
Running back Josh Jacobs rolled up a season-high 98 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders rolled to victory in Antonio Pierce’s debut as the team’s interim head coach.
Raiders wideout Davante Adams (team-leading 51 catches, 573 yards) has been kept under wraps of late, and the three-time All-Pro likely will see more than his fair share of reigning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner this week.
“Sauce Gardner is a problem. … (A) very talented individual,” Pierce said. “A lot of confidence, swag, ball-hawking. Creates opportunities for his defense with his length. Plays to the strength of the system as well. Knows where his help is. Smart football player, really good football player. Very talented.”
Wilson completed a career-high 33 passes for a season-best 263 yards on Monday, though he and the Jets failed to find the end zone in a 27-6 setback against the Los Angeles Chargers. The result snapped a three-game winning streak for the Jets, who own the NFL’s second-worst average in total yards (272.9) and third-worst average in points per game (16.5).
The Raiders aren’t much better. They are averaging an NFL third-worst 275.6 total yards and sixth-worst 17.3 points per contest — and they’ll face a New York defense that is yielding the ninth-fewest yards (312.0) and eighth-fewest points per game (19.5).
Wilson, who was sacked eight times by the Chargers, will encounter a Raiders team that recorded eight sacks vs. the Giants — including a season-high three by Maxx Crosby.
“We had eight sacks and that was great. But giving up 100 yards rushing is not cool,” Pierce said.
The Jets hope to pick on the Raiders’ run defense behind Breece Hall, who has been stuck in neutral the past three games with 40 carries for just 106 yards. That came on the heels of erupting for 177 yards and a touchdown in New York’s 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos on Oct. 8.
As for Wilson, he has struggled mightily since being ushered behind center following the injury to Aaron Rodgers in the season opener. Coach Robert Saleh, however, dismissed the notion of a “conspiracy theory” — in essence that he is receiving demands from the front office to play Wilson as opposed to giving Tim Boyle or Trevor Siemian first-team reps at practice.
“Obviously, it’s not the Greatest Show on Turf,” Saleh said on Wednesday. “Obviously, (Wilson) knows that there’s a lot of things that he can do better. There’s a lot of things we can all do better. And yeah, he needs to get better. He knows that.
“But I know the knee-jerk reaction is to always hit the panic button. … He’s doing the best he can. But again, he still needs to get better.”
New York offensive lineman Billy Turner (finger), who was thrust into a starting role for the first time this season on Monday, joined linebacker Chazz Surratt (ankle) in failing to participate during Wednesday’s walkthrough session. Offensive lineman Mekhi Becton (knee), wideout Allen Lazard (knee), linebacker Quincy Williams (knee) and tight end Jeremy Ruckert (shoulder) were limited participants.
As for Las Vegas, Crosby (knee) joined cornerback Nate Hobbs (ankle), tight end Austin Hooper (calf), guard Greg Van Roten (biceps/back) and tackle Thayer Munford Jr. (neck) in being limited during the Wednesday practice. Cornerback Marcus Peters (knee), tackle Kolton Miller (shoulder), linebacker Divine Deablo (ankle) and fullback Jakob Johnson (concussion) did not practice.
–Field Level Media