The Jets’ Sunday game at Oakland (4:05 p.m. on CBS) marks the start of their first three-game, regular-season road trip since 1982.
In past years, the unimposing Raiders would have represented a nice start for such a stretch.
However, as the Jets come off a 32-3 win over Jacksonville, the Raiders are irate after losing to Buffalo 38-35 on a fourth-down TD with just 14 seconds left on the clock.
The Jets, who will miss injured center Nick Mangold, need to address at least three issues.
The black hole
Raiders fans are nuts, plain and simple. It’s one of the loudest places in the league, and if that 1-1 team gets on an offensive roll behind do-everything running back Darren McFadden, it’s going to be murder to catch up. Focus is the key, especially since the following week brings a legitimately tough game in Baltimore.
Run the ball
This is a prime opportunity to jolt the struggling running game. The Raiders are ranked 27th in the league against the run, giving up an average of 127.5 yards on the ground. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene have gained just 146 yards during the first two games for an unimpressive 2.7-yards-per-carry average. And All-Pro Mangold will in all likelihood sit this one out with his.
Throw the ball
Mark Sanchez threw just 16 times in the last meeting against the Raiders, a 38-0 win in 2009. Given the state of the Jets’ running game, he’ll be asked to throw a lot more — and to avoid the turnover. He threw two picks against the toothless Jags last week to go along with his two TD throws. He might want to look for Plaxico Burress more this week, considering he didn’t find the big receiver at all last week. It was Burress’ first catchless game since the playoffs of 2006, with the Giants. Locating him a few times — and maybe a couple of times in the end zone — will make things a lot easier after a long plane ride.