Jets to Leave Raiders Grounded in Home Opener
New York Jets -3 (-115)
Oakland Raiders +3 (-105)
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The Oakland Raiders are looking to bring success to their home opener this Sunday against one of their original American Football League opponents-the New York Jets. The Jets are currently listed as road favourites by 3.5 points over the silver and black so let’s look in more detail at the value in this line.
First off, let’s compare how both teams stand overall in the within the NFL and the general direction they seem to be headed going into this week three matchup. The New York Jets are currently ranked among the top five teams in most NFL power rankings, while the Raiders are hard pressed to be put in the top half of the league. Oakland is coming off a close road loss to the Buffalo Bills, which saw them surrender twenty-one points in the fourth quarter alone. The Jets’ last game saw them demolish the Jacksonville Jaguars, keeping them scoreless after a lone first quarter field goal. Oakland has been vocal about getting back to their physical intimidation of the past, but this philosophy has put them in serious penalty trouble in both of their games this year. The Jets always vocal head coach Rex Ryan has repeatedly announced his intentions of making defence a priority again this year and to this point it has succeeded. Just ask Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. It could be reasonably argued that while the Jets offense has been doing fairly well and has a highly publicized array of players, it has been their defence that has come up with timely interceptions, forced fumbles and other key plays. Although the Jets have a little more work to do to catch up to Rex Ryan’s tough talk, we can generally sense that their aspirations for the Super Bowl are still entirely intact. The Raiders, on the other hand are looking with both hope and desperation at their first home game of the season to provide them with identity and some reassurance that this season will be different from the others.
Next, although the New York Jets demonstrated their superiority over the Jaguars last week, much has been made of the high ankle injury to centre Nick Mangold. Mangold has been at the middle of the offensive line for the Jets since he was drafted back in the 2006 draft, playing all eighty-nine regular season games. To put it lightly, he has been a model of consistency for the New York Jets and his absence may certainly put jitters into many potential Jets backers this weekend. However, Mangold’s replacement Colin Baxter went into action for three quarters during the last game against the Jaguars and that seemed to work out reasonably well. By all accounts Coach Rex Ryan and others among the team are impressed with Baxter’s grasp of the offense and his willingness to put in extra study to take full advantage of this opportunity he has been presented. The Jets have to expect Oakland to throw everything they can against the rookie center but can the Raiders really develop that much more of a threat than the Jaguars? And if they can, wouldn’t bettors reasonably expect that Rex Ryan and the rest of the first rate coaching staff have been well prepared for this with counter-strategies of their own? I should think so.
Finally, most bettors would certainly agree that the line would be tilted against the Jets to a greater degree than its current -3 if it were played in New York. This would suggest that there is a fair advantage for Oakland that Sunday’s match will be played on their home turf. However, if we accept that this will be at least a challenging game for the Raiders we have to also understand that their fans may not be the most patient towards the silver and black. I would suggest that quite the opposite will be the case. Oakland fans are a frustrated bunch and it is my prediction that this frustration will be unleashed upon the home team should the Raiders take foolish penalties or become stymied by a stronger New York Jets team-both of which are likely scenarios. As the home crowd turns against them, we can now safely state that “home field advantage” has become a negative, rather than positive factor for the Raiders team.
Looking at home field (dis)advantage, significant injuries and both teams current standing and direction I predict the New York Jets will display their superior skills and coaching on Sunday in Oakland. Take the Jets and give the 3 points to the Raiders.