The Oakland Raiders are serious contenders, while the New York Jets without Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Mangold and a plethora of others are pretty vanilla.
That was the lesson we all learned from Raiders 34, Jets 20 on Sunday afternoon. The lead story for the Jets has more to do with the amount of injuries they sustained on Sunday, specifically the health of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who left the game on the first series after sustaining a thumb injury.
Fitzpatrick left the ball game holding his left hand, and never returned, leaving the Jets in the unsteady hands of Geno Smith. More on him in a moment.
Fitzpatrick will have an MRI on the thumb on Monday to determine the severity of the injury and any ligament damage. There are reports flying around that the Jets began their search for a quarterback on the wire during the game.
As for Smith he was his inconsistent self. He had a couple moments, like leading two long touchdown drives in the second half with some nice throws to Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Kenbrell Tompkins. Smith threw two touchdowns in the second half, but this was with the ball game well in hand for the Raiders.
The inconsistent Geno also came to play as well. Smith a threw a hideous interception in the second quarter to Charles Woodson, helping make Woodson fifth all time in interceptions. Gene also made a number of bone headed plays, like leaving himself exposed on a 29-yard scamper, only to get blasted on the sideline, throwing into coverage, and showing no urgency. In other words, same old Geno = same old Jets.
Meanwhile, Derek Carr looked like Tom Brady out there for Oakland. The second year quarterback had all day to throw the football, completing 23 out of 36 for 333 yards and four touchdowns. In addition Latavious Murray gashed the Jets once sound defense for 113 yards on the ground. The Jets defense had no answer for the Raiders as players were breaking tackles all over the field against Gang Green.
Overall, New York gave up 451 yards of offense to the Raiders.
The Raiders put the game away pretty quickly. After the Jets took a 3-0 lead on their first possession, Carr led the Raiders on an impressive 10-play 78-yard drive that culminated in a back-corner touchdown to Andre Holmes. The score was one of three straight touchdowns by the Raiders. In the second quarter, Carr found ex-49er Michael Crabtree down the middle for a 36-yard touchdown strike, as Crabtree dodged four Jets tacklers to make it 14-3.
Finally, Carr hit Holmes again, this time streaking down the sideline for a 49 yard score to put the game pretty much out of reach in the first half at 21-3.
The Jets (4-3) not only lose a quarterback in this game, but they lose a head-to-head match-up to a Raiders team that looks like a serious playoff contender in 2015.