New York Jets vs. Oakland Raiders: Can Mark Sanchez Lead the Jets to Victory?

Bill HintonCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders come home to face the New York Jets after splitting two road games to start the season. The Jets are 2-0, thanks to a Dallas implosion and a route of the Jacksonville Jaguars, both at home. If things go as I expect on Sunday, the Jets will struggle, particularly quarterback Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez was okay in the opener against Dallas, but he threw two interceptions against a less-than-stellar Jaguars defense. If it weren't for Luke McCown, Sanchez's mistakes would have been amplified. McCown's four interceptions bailed Sanchez out and made for an easy win for the Jets.

The Jets will try to get a ground game established for the first time this season in an attempt to try to hide Sanchez's deficiencies. If that fails, the mistake-prone QB will be forced to try to make plays and I don't think he'll be up to the task.

The Raiders defense will appreciate Jets center Nick Mangold being out this week. Oakland will stuff the running game and then pressure Sanchez early and often, just as they did to Kyle Orton in Denver.

I don't think the Raiders offense will play as well as they did in Buffalo, but I do think they will make some plays. Antonio Cromartie, in particular, will gamble and his aggression can be taken advantage of with the deep ball. Also, Darren McFadden should be able to run the ball against a Jets defense that gave up 88 yards on just 18 carries to Maurice Jones-Drew.

In the end, Sanchez's propensity for mistakes will be the difference. Expect a 23-13 win for the Raiders and the Jets to suffer the first of what will be three-straight losses, with road games at Baltimore and New England looming.

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