Raiders must beware the ultimate trap game this weekend

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders may have a huge game against the Kansas City Chiefs in two weeks, but they must beware of the ultimate trap game vs. the New York Jets.

Through the first 11 weeks of the 2019 NFL season, the Oakland Raiders have to feel great about where they are in the AFC standings. The Silver and Black are 6-4 on the year and are one of a handful of teams that can seriously reach the AFC playoffs, either as a Wild Card team or possibly as a division winner.

They have a huge game in two weeks when they look to avenge Week 2’s loss to the archrival Kansas City Chiefs, this time in Arrowhead. Kansas City will be coming off its annual bye, so we should expect the Chief’s A-game in Week 13. We should also expect Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to have his team ready to go vs. Kansas City in a game that will decide the AFC West.

But let’s not forget about what is right in front of them. The Raiders have to play the 3-7 New York Jets on the road in MetLife on Sunday afternoon. New York has wins over two truly awful teams in the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, as well as a weird one over the Dallas Cowboys in Sam Darnold’s first game back from mononucleosis. Don’t fall for the trap, Raiders.

This will be a 10:00 a.m. PT start time for the Silver and Black. This game will be in the state next to New York City. The Jets aren’t anything close to a playoff team. The Raiders got this, right? Think again.

Jets ownership has given New York head coach Adam Gase the dreaded vote of confidence. He certainly had the feel of a one-and-done head coach, but winning two games over the two worst teams in the NFC has the Jets ownership excited about the future! Legions of Gang Green must absolutely hate this and they surely let Mike Francesa know about it.

But besides the Raiders potentially overlooking the Jets in this game, there is a reason that New York could be a sneaky-good team this week. They are playing with confidence and will want to put together the best tape possible, knowing that Gase is now likely returning as head coach in 2020. In short, this Jets team will play very, very hard on Sunday and Oakland better be ready.

West Coast teams traveling east and having to play in that early window is always a tough proposition. The Silver and Black have shown that they can beat any team in any time zone, according to Gruden after the Raiders defeated Mitchell Trubisky’s Chicago Bears in London several weeks ago. But this game won’t be a cakewalk for Oakland by any means.

The Jets play real defense under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. It seems that Darnold is done seeing ghosts and is starting to play some pretty decent football in Gase’s offense. In short, the Jets are starting to resemble the Jeff Fisher 7-9 B.S. team we thought they’d be to start the year, instead of the out-of-control dumpster fire there were right around Halloween.

Admittedly, it can be challenging to get up for a team that you’re clearly better than. That being said, the Raiders didn’t exactly wipe the floor with the toothless Cincinnati Bengals at home last week. The winless Bengals actually had a lead in that game, but Oakland did enough in the second half to secure a narrow victory over the worst team in football.

So there is a chance that Gruden will have used Week 11’s home win over the Bengals as a coaching moment. Keep in mind that is the same team that Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther cut his teeth with, so that could have had the Bengals extra fired up to the play the Silver and Black at the Coliseum last week.

But let’s not fool ourselves here. The Raiders haven’t exactly been the steadiest of NFL franchises this century. They might have the right head coach, but their unpredictable nature week-to-week is why the Raiders have made the AFC playoffs once since 2003 and haven’t won a division title since 2002. That could change this year, but they can’t lose a dumb game to the Jets on Sunday.

In truth, the Raiders will probably lose in Arrowhead in two weeks anyway. They’ll be getting Andy Reid off a bye, likely Tyreek Hill back from a hamstring injury and Arrowhead has been a house of horrors for Derek Carr since he was drafted out of Fresno State.

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Winning in Arrowhead in two weeks would be a pleasant surprise, but don’t let a shocking disappointment via the Jets sneak up on your, Raiders. This game has trap game written all over it. You have been warned, Silver and Black. Now go take care of business in MetLife, so that you can take a 7-4 record into Arrowhead with a shot at winning the division within reach.