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Jets' Defensive Line vs. Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew
New York's defensive line has a good case that it's the best front in football.
Muhammad Wilkerson is one of the most complete defensive ends in football. Sheldon Richardson should build off his award-winning rookie campaign, and Damon Harrison is the most underrated, and arguably the best, run-stopper in the league.
The Sons of Anarchy were a huge reason why the Jets ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed a year ago and first in yards per carry.
The Raiders ranked 12th in rushing yards in 2013, but they remodeled their backfield this offseason, letting Rashad Jennings walk in free agency and signing veteran Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jones-Drew and the oft-injured McFadden will attempt to shed the image that they're past their prime this season, but they will have a tough time finding space against Gang Green's front on Sunday.
Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen vs. James Jones and Rod Streater
Walls and Allen are probably the most inexperienced cornerback duo starting in Week 1, as they have a combined four starts at the position.
However, they'll be matched up against a pair of receivers who don't exactly strike fear into opposing defensive coordinators.
Don't get me wrong—Jones and Streater are two talented players. Nonetheless, Jones has managed to only put up one great year with one of the league's best quarterbacks in over a half-decade, while Streater hasn't broken out in any way yet.
With the explosive receiving corps of the Packers, Bears and Lions due up in the next month, this game will be an important indicator of how well the cornerbacks can perform this year.
If they struggle against Oakland's receivers, fans better be worried.
Rex Ryan vs. Derek Carr
Say what you want about his ability to coach an offense, but Rex Ryan is one of the best defensive minds in football, if not the best.
He consistently gets the best out of his defensive players, and his complex blitzing schemes are incredibly difficult for quarterbacks to pick up.
Ryan's scheming ability is particular deadly against rookie quarterbacks who struggle to get a grip on what the defense is going to do on a play-to-play basis.
Derek Carr was one of the most productive collegiate quarterbacks in recent memory, but he's never faced a defense like Ryan's.
Young quarterbacks rarely get the best of Rex, and Carr has to showcase a composure and confidence rarely possessed by signal-callers in their NFL debut.
Jets' X-Factor of the Week: Breno Giacomini
Breno Giacomini was brought in to replace the departed Austin Howard this offseason, and he hopes to best the now-Raider on Sunday.
Giacomini is a mauler who brings a tough and experienced presence to the offensive line. If he can avoid committing too many penalties, he could end up being a free-agent steal.
The former Seahawk will have a difficult challenge in his first appearance in green and white, though, as he must match up with former Pro Bowler LaMarr Woodley and perhaps top-five pick Khalil Mack.
Woodley and Mack are both explosive pass-rushers who will be looking to disrupt Geno Smith. Giacomini must hold them off if Smith and New York's offense are to move the chains on a consistent basis.