Cotchery needs 92 receiving yards for his first 1,000-yard season
New York and Oakland are at opposite ends of the football world as the regular season ends. The Jets have been rallying around the mantra "win & in" while the Raiders' focus has been more in tune with "Troy Smith or Brady Quinn". New York has been precise and prepared all season, helped by a healthy roster, while the Raiders have struggled with injuries, penalties and mistakes, especially on offense, where they lie at the bottom of almost every category.
Can the Jets get enough out of their running game to avoid taking on Oakland's pass defense? Can the Raiders play the role of spoilers? With both teams suffering injuries to their star receivers, the Jets and Raiders may elect to slug it out on the ground.
Match up 1
C Jake Grove (6'4", 300 lbs) vs. NT Dewayne Robertson (6'1", 317 lbs).
Without a solid passing game or the speed to run off the edges, Oakland will rely on this matchup to determine their ability to control the ball. Grove has quick hands to win inside leverage and the footwork to walk defenders away from the point of attack in zone blocking schemes. Robertson has developed into a true two-gap player, improving his ability to wipe off the single block, tackle the counter run, and threaten the quarterback on passing downs. Grove will look to the guards for help against Robertson's quickness, which will leave a linebacker free to roam between the tackles.
Match up 2
WR Ronald Curry (6'2", 210 lbs) vs. CB Hank Poteat (5'11", 195 lbs).
Curry leads the Raiders in receptions despite playing a backup role for much of the season. Curry's one-step change of direction makes him an easy target for QB Aaron Brooks on timing routes. Poteat has problems with big receivers and will play with a cushion, giving Curry the comeback and square-out routes. Oakland likes to take chances deep, so look for Curry on the stop-and-go off the double move if Poteat tries to anticipate the underneath routes.
Match up 3
DT Tommy Kelly (6'5, 300 lbs) vs. LG Pete Kendall (6'5", 292 lbs).
Kendall is a finesse player who has the feet to gain position and maintain blocks against bigger defensive tackles. Kelly tends to get tall after contact and can be walled out of the running lane. Kelly can be driven off the line with double teams, so look for the Jets to alternate between Kendall taking on Kelly alone or as part of a combo block with center Nick Mangold moving to the second level.
Things to Look For:
Teams: The Raiders own a 19-3-2 edge in the series, but the Jets have won three of the last four meetings, including last season's 26-10 victory at the Meadowlands…The Jets have won four of their last five and seven of their last ten, and are one of 11 teams still fighting for three remaining playoff spots in the NFL…The Jets control their own playoff destiny and can qualify for the postseason for the fourth time in the last six years with a win…Eric Mangini can become the 2nd coach in Jets history to lead the team to the playoffs in his first season…The Raiders defense has allowed more than 21 points just twice in the last 11 games…the Raiders D is ranked 6th in the NFL in red zone defense, allowing just 25 TD in 57 trips.
Chad Pennington: Pennington, in two career starts against the Raiders, has completed 65% of his passes for 534 yards, 4 TD and 1 INT for 108.2 passer rating.
Jerricho Cotchery: Cotchery needs 92 receiving yards for his first 1,000-yard season.
Victor Hobson: Hobson has 4 sacks in the last three games.
Bryan Thomas: Thomas has a sack in six of the last eight games.
Andrew Walter: Walter has led the Raiders to victory in two of his last five starts.
Ronald Curry: Curry has 28 catches in the last three games, including 11 last week…he's the first Raider to catch 11 passes in a game since Tim Brown in 2002.
Nnamdi Asomugha: Is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 8 INT…can become the first Raider since Lester Hayes in 1980 to record nine in a season.
Warren Sapp: Sapp has nine sacks, his most in a single season since 2000…with one sack, he will have recorded at least ten in a season four times in his 12-year career.
Sebastian Janikowski: Janikowski needs one more FG to tie Hall of Famer George Blanda for the most in team history.
Note: N.Y. Jets clinch a playoff berth with:
*1) NYJ win or tie vs. Oakland, OR
2) Cincinnati loss or tie vs. Pittsburgh + Jacksonville loss or tie @ Kansas City, OR
3) Cincinnati loss or tie vs. Pittsburgh + Tennessee win vs. New England, OR
4) Denver loss vs. San Francisco + Jacksonville loss @ Kansas City *