Oakland Raiders (4-8 SU, 7-4-1 ATS)
The Raiders have had plenty of time to gobble their turkey and reflect upon the two touchdown lead they handed away to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. It was the fifth time this season the Raiders have coughed up a second half lead but had Oakland been able to maintain those leads then the Silver & Black would be talking about playoff seedings rather than vacation destinations.
Matt McGloin has done an admirable job after being foisted into the spotlight due to injuries to Terrelle Pryor but after tossing a trio of touchdowns in Week 11 the rookie has only one touchdown to his credit and two picks in losses to the Titans and Cowboys. But if the verdict is still out on McGloin the same cannot be said for veteran running back Rashad Jennings who posted stellar numbers in November and took some of the focus off his first-year signal caller.
However, Jennings did suffer a concussion in the Thanksgiving Day game against Dallas but the extra time between games should give him the opportunity to get medical clearance to play against the Jets but the official verdict will not be returned until later in the week.
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New York Jets (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Rookie quarterbacks struggle in the NFL to one degree or another but Geno Smith is drowning. In his last five starts the Jets are 1-4 and he hasn't had a passing touchdown nor surpassed 200 passing yards during that span. To compound matters, Smith completed only 4-of-10 passes last week before head coach Rex Ryan decided to tap him out and bring in Matt Simms in merciful relief. Despite all that doom and gloom Smith will be back under center against the Raiders this week as Rex Ryan's undying loyalty to the rookie quarterback may ultimately contribute mightily to his own demise in New York.
The Jets dropped a 23-3 decision to the Dolphins on Sunday, their third consecutive loss. Their defense is tops in the league against the rush but unfortunately the signing of future Hall-of-Famer has done little if anything to improve their 25th ranking against the pass. The problem is that the defense spends far too much time on the field because the offense is a 3-and-out machine. This not only gives the other team more opportunities to score but wears out the players on the Jets defensive side of the football. In order to improve the Jets have to do one thing - score!
NFL Free Pick:
Watching the Jets offense remain stuck in neutral last week against the Raiders was painful. If you backed Gang Green in your NFL picks you knew early on that it was just a matter of time before the Fins scored and once they did that was pretty much it. The offense gave absolutely no hope of even moving never mind scoring. I'm not sure how anyone can enthusiastically like the Jets in this spot.
However, does that make the Raiders a good bet with NFL odds offering them at +2.5? I'm not overly enthusiastic about their prospects either. They are going from the West Coast to the East Coast for an early game but then again, they have had 10 days to prepare for this game so the travel may not be much of a factor. Oakland may very well be down to their fourth-string running back as Darren McFadden continues to nurse his injury while Rashad Jennings may not be allowed to go due to his concussion. The third-string back Jeremy Stewart is nursing ankle/knee injuries of his own so the Raiders may be down to Taiwan Jones who was drafted as a rusher but converted to cornerback in the offseason.Hold your nose and pick the Raiders +2.5 (I strongly suggest you buy the hook and move it to 3) at WilliamHill.com.