Trust in Carr's Solid Start & Bet Raiders +3 vs. Jets With Your NFL Picks

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, October 29, 2015 1:10 AM GMT

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 1:10 AM GMT

The Jets take on the Raiders in Week 8 in Oakland as these two second place teams try to keep up in their respective divisions. Our handicapper analyzes this matchup and gives his early lean against the spread and his NFL pick.

The 4-2 New York Jets fly across the country in Week 8 to take on the surprising 3-3 Oakland Raiders at O.Co Coliseum. Each of these teams is in second place in their respective divisions trailing undefeated 6-0 teams, and can’t afford to drop a game here if they hope to keep up. The Jets have the opening nod from the sportsbooks, and are favored on the road in this game by 2 points at sites such as Bovada. The O/U total has opened at 44 points at the same site.

Last week I broke down the Raiders game against the Chargers; with the thought that it would be a high scoring game because of the 31st ranked passing defense of Oakland. In that write up I was shading the over. It definitely was high scoring, but surprisingly it was the Raiders that were able to put up 37 points in three quarters to win the game and not the Chargers. However, the Raiders were up 37-6 early in the third quarter before their passing defense came undone again. The Chargers were able to score 23 unanswered points in the air in the 4th quarter alone, and ended up outgaining the Raiders in the passing game 327 yards to 282.

Can the Jets passing game take advantage in the same way that the Chargers did late in the game versus the Raiders? The Jets are ranked 23rd in the NFL in passing yards per game at 245.3, but only attempt to pass 35 times per game. The offensive line has been able to give Ryan Fitzpatrick excellent protection though, giving up only four sacks all year. That might change on Sunday, as the status of All-Pro center Nick Mangold is unclear. Mangold hurt his neck in the game against the Patriots in Week 7, but x-rays were negative. Still, Mangold hasn’t been able to practice yet so far this week.

The Jets haven’t played well on the West Coast lately, and haven’t won since 2010 west of the Mississippi when they won at Denver in the regular season on the way to the AFC Championship game that year. Since then they are 0-4: in 2011 they lost 13-17 at Denver and 24-34 at Oakland, in 2012 they lost 7-28 at Seattle, and finally last year they got crushed 0-31 at San Diego. The Jets are 2-1 on the road so far this year.

An article on the Oakland Raiders wouldn’t be complete without discussing this year’s play of quarterback, Derek Carr. Carr has really come into his own this year, and is 6th in the NFL in QBR rating through Week 7 at 101.0. His 11 TD versus 3 INT ratio is excellent, and his 65.8 completion percentage is in the top 10 of current starting QB’s. One of the reasons for this is his excellent protection thus far this year as he has only been sacked 8 times through six games. Derek Carr may be forced to throw a lot in this game as the New York Jets have the #1 rushing defense in the league at 71.5 YPG. That may not be such a bad thing.

I look at this game as a let down game for the Jets after they gave it their all against the Patriots in Week 7. Oakland is fully capable of keeping it close against a good defense, and I give them bonus points for hanging around against the Broncos defense on the road in Week 6. After a terrible year in 2014, the Raiders appear to be a year or two early in their turnaround under new coach Jack Del Rio. I’m taking any points I can get on the NFL odds board in this one - definitely a teaser contender – and picking Oakland as one of my Week 8 NFL picks

NFL Picks: Raiders +3 at Bovada

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