There are no true gimmie games in the NFL. But let’s face it, some matchups are just a whole lot less threatening than others. Case in point: The Jets season opener at MetLife Stadium against the Raiders on Sunday.
Granted, the season has yet to begin and it’s tough to say for certain who 2014’s good and bad teams are going to be. Still, one look at the Raiders’ roster doesn’t instill a ton of fear. Here are three reasons to feel confident the Jets will be starting their season on a high note.
Rookie quarterback Derek Carr beat out veteran Matt Schaub for the starting gig with some impressive preseason work. But that was the preseason. These are games that count against teams playing to win, and the Jets’ defense will be more than willing to give the debuting starter a trial by fire. Expect a big game from Muhammad Wilkerson, who could wind up leading the NFL in sacks after Week 1.
If there ever was a week to build some chemistry between Jets quarterback Geno Smith and new No. 1 receiver Eric Decker, it’s this one. Decker, who used to see the Raiders twice a year while playing for the Broncos, has scored a touchdown in four of the last five meetings against Oakland. Even with Smith instead of Peyton Manning, odds are good he’ll find the end zone.
It’s good to be home, especially for the Jets. They’ve started the season at home every year since MetLife Stadium opened, and they’ve won the last three. Though that’s hardly an indicator of a win this weekend, keep this in mind: The last time the Raiders won a game in a state that touches the Atlantic Ocean was in 2008, and that includes a 37-27 Jets win last December.