Work in Progress Jets Face Tough Early Season Schedule

The New York Jets kick off their 2014 NFL regular season schedule with a home date against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon. The Jets, who are pegged as 5.5-point favorites over the Raiders in NFL betting at, will be looking to bounce back from a difficult pre-season.

After losing their top three cornerbacks early on to injury, the team closed out their pre-season schedule with a pair of forgettable losses to the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

Dee Milliner remains questionable for Sunday’s game against Oakland, and Dimitri Patterson was cut on the weekend, but with added depth coming with the signings of Leon McFadden and Phillip Adams, the Jets’ cornerback concerns have calmed, allowing attention to again focus on who will run the Jets’ offense this season.

Starting quarterback Geno Smith will be expected to improve following a rookie campaign in which he threw just 12 touchdowns against a whopping 21 picks. Smith, who should benefit from the presence of veteran backup Michael Vick, saw limited action in the pre-season, throwing 33 times for 268 yards and 1 TD.

Vick, who tossed for 122 yards and two TDs in the pre-season, comes over from the Eagles following a tough 2013 season during which he lost the starter’s job to Nick Foles.

While on paper, the Raiders would look to be an ideal Week 1 opponent, the Jets could have their hands full against an Oakland squad led by a young QB making his pro debut. Derek Carr, the Raiders’ second round selection in this year’s NFL Draft, impressed enough in his only pre-season start to be anointed as the team’s starter.

Playing in place of Matt Schaub, who was expected to be the Raiders’ pivot this season, Carr threw for 143 yards and three TDs to lead the Raiders to an unlikely 41-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the Raiders’ pre-season finale.

The 23 year-old is a proven gunslinger, throwing for an astonishing 5083 yards last season with Fresno State, and could wreak havoc on a Jets’ secondary that may still need time to gel.

A loss against the Raiders, distant 200/1 longshots in Super Bowl betting, will put additional pressure on a Jets team that enters Week 1 with long odds of 15/2 to win the AFC East and 75/1 Super Bowl odds.

Following their Week 1 matchup with Oakland, the Jets face an unenviable early season schedule that includes dates with the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.

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