Week 1: at New York Jets, 10 a.m. Pacific (CBS)
The Raiders will make their third trip to the swamps of New Jersey—what the Meadowlands used to be before they became the Meadowlands—in less than a year. Oakland played the Giants at MetLife Stadium last Nov. 10 and faced the Jets there on Dec. 8.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 8, 2013—Geno Smith threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Jets beat the Raiders 37-27. Marcel Reece, filling in for injured running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings, rushed for a career-high 123 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, breaking off a 63-yard scoring burst in the third quarter. Matt McGloin was 18-for-31 for 245 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and Rod Streater had a big day for the Raiders, catching seven passes for 130 yards, including a 48-yard scoring catch in the third quarter. Statistically, the game was relatively even—the Raiders outgained the Jets 383-352 and led in time of possession and first downs—but a special teams score late in the first half swung the momentum for the Jets. Antonio Allen’s recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone gave New York a 20-3 halftime lead.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: This is the anticipated debut for new quarterback Matt Schaub and a host of other new Raiders, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, where Oakland hopes to generate more pass rush with newcomers Antonio Smith, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley. The Raiders had the 22nd-ranked defense in the league last year, allowing 363.7 yards a game. They were 28th, however, against the pass and were in the middle of the pack with their 38 sacks.
For the Jets, new running back Chris Johnson—signed after he was cut by the Titans—is expected to debut and Michael Vick will be in camp to compete for the starting quarterback job with Smith. Former Raider Jacoby Ford also signed with the Jets earlier this month, although the bigger buzz at receiver this offseason was the free-agent addition of Eric Decker from the Broncos.