Raiders Week 9 Preview: The Silver and Black visit the East Coast

Source: Don Wright/AP

Following a week that has been filled with every emotion imaginable, the Raiders are headed to New Jersey to take on the Giants. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia has a chance to go 3-0 in his first three games as head coach. This would be the first time since 2000 that an interim head coach has won their first three games.

Bisaccia is ready for the opportunity against his former favorite team.

“I do love the Giants… as long as we’re not playing them,” Bisaccia said Friday. He grew up a huge fan of the Giants but now, his time to shine comes from another team.

This week has a lot on the line for the Raiders as they try to hold on to high playoff seeding in a competitive AFC. Here are two things that can make or break Week 9 for the Raiders.

Cross Country Trip

Being in the pacific time zone can be a blessing and a curse. As the Raiders travel to New Jersey this week, they might be feeling like it is the latter of the two. A three-hour plane ride followed by last minute preparation and a three-hour time difference is no small feat.

The Raiders will play their first early window game since Week 2 on Sunday. Early window games are always tough, but when kickoff is at 10:00 a.m. Vegas time, they might feel a little bit tougher.

As the Raiders warm up Sunday morning, MetLife Stadium will be much colder than the desert. Derek Carr, often referred to as a fair-weather quarterback, will have his first weather challenge this season as Sunday morning in New Jersey will be far from warm.

Statistics show Carr struggles in under 50 degree weather. By game time, New Jersey should be warmer than that (barely). Carr has proven time and time again over the course of the season that he is the perfect leader for the Raiders and I don’t see any fall weather taking that away.

Zay Jones

A lot of times, these previews refer to position groups, weekly events, or injuries that can change the course of the game. This week, it really boils down to the preparedness of one receiver: veteran Zay Jones.

Zay Jones was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He played for the Bills for two seasons before being traded to the Raiders in 2019. Jones has 47 career receptions for the Raiders accounting for 485 total yards and 2 touchdowns.

Jones has proven time and time again that he is reliable in clutch situations. Most recently, Jones caught the winning touchdown pass from Derek Carr in Week 1 during overtime.

“I can’t be happier,” Derek Carr said after the Week 1 win. “If I had to pick somebody, I would probably pick Zay. Please let Zay catch the game-winner because he does so much for us and taking double teams. He works harder than everybody, so I’d sit here and talk 10 minutes about the guy, but I’m just happy for him,” Derek Carr said after the Week 1 win.

Jones also caught a monster 43-yard pass on 3rd and 15 in Week 7. Jones has the skills needed to step up big time for Las Vegas this season, and now it’s time to see if he will.

After the release of WR Henry Ruggs III, Jones will receive a more substantial workload on the field. Carr has shown and told the world time and time again how much he loves having Jones on the team. The two have an obvious connection that transfers onto the field.

“Zay Jones, since he got to our team, every time I ask someone to throw, he’s there at 6 a.m. Every time. He never missed one… I hope everyone in the world roots for Zay Jones because he works harder than anybody on our team,” Carr said after the Week 1 win.

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson and head coach Rich Bisaccia also have a world of praise for the fifth year receiver as he makes his first start for the Raiders this season.

“We always talk about opportunity and it comes in a lot of different forms,” Olson said on Thursday. “This is an opportunity for Zay – not the opportunity he was looking for – but we always feel real strong about Zay Jones and his abilities as a receiver and his abilities to play the Z position. He’s had a very good week of practice, but he’s had good weeks of practice in the past.”

It is clear the coaching staff and team have miles of confidence in Zay Jones. On Sunday, he finally gets his chance to prove what he’s all about.

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