The New York Jets season began in predictably disappointing fashion on Sunday, as the team was outplayed handily by the Buffalo Bills en route to a 21-12 loss. Things don’t get any easier for the team, as they travel to Oakland to face the Raiders. In addition to the talent disparity between the two teams, there are a myriad of other factors working against the Jets. The game is the Raiders home opener, meaning the famed “black hole” will be out in full force. The long trip to Oakland and resulting time difference will also be a factor. Since 2000, NFL teams traveling from east to west had had a winning percentage of 37.98%, compared with 46.54% for teams traveling from east to west. All that being said, the Jets can still find a way to win the ballgame. Here are the New York Jets keys to victory.

Week Two New York Jets Keys to Victory

1) Shut Down Cooper and Crabtree

For the New York Jets to emerge victorious, their defense will need to dominate. The Jets simply don’t have the weapons on offense to compete with a dynamic Raiders group if the game becomes a shootout. Thus, the burden is on the defense in this game – as it will be all year – to limit the opposition and give their offense a chance. Stopping the Raiders begins with minimizing their two great receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. The duo gave defenses fits last year, combining for over 2,000 yards and thirteen touchdowns.

If Juston Burris and Morris Claiborne can shut their respective receivers down in single coverage, the Jets will be free to load the box and get to quarterback Derek Carr. It’s an undoubtedly daunting task for the Jets two corners, especially the young Burris. Yet if they can pull it off, the defense will have a shot at stopping the Raiders offense in its entirety.

2) Control the Trenches

In week one, the Jets failed to win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They failed miserably. The team rushed the ball for a measly thirty-eight yards on thirteen attempts, while allowing the Bills to rush for 190 yards on forty-two attempts. Those numbers are miserable, especially given the fact that the run game was a perceived strength for the New York Jets coming into the season. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell are a nice tandem, and on the flip side of the ball, the Jets have a talented defensive line. If the Jets want to be successful against Oakland– or against any team– they’ll have to win in the trenches.

3) Win the Possession Battle

Newly-hired offensive coordinator John Morton has implemented a conventional West Coast offense, a rather extreme departure from Chan Gailey’s system. The West Coast scheme stretches the field horizontally, primarily through short passes and off-tackle handoffs. If executed effectively, the West Coast scheme will be a slow and methodical attack, one that will keep the Raiders offense on the sidelines for extended periods of time. This is perhaps the best tool the Jets offense can offer. If Josh McCown and company are able to lead long scoring drives, they’ll be helping their defense in the process. For the Jets to win this ballgame, controlling the clock will be imperative.

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