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Key Matchups: The Raiders can't make detrimental mistakes to defeat themselves


The Las Vegas Raiders vs. themselves

The Silver and Black need to get back to the basics.

The Raiders have a lot to prove this Sunday, as they travel back to the East Coast to play the New York Jets. Coming off a 43-6 loss to the 4-7 Atlanta Falcons, the Raiders will need to exorcise some demons at MetLife Stadium.

In the loss against the Falcons, the Raiders did a lot of things to essentially beat themselves. They turned the ball over five times and committed 141 yards in penalties. There's no secret what the Raiders have to do to defeat the 0-11 Jets this Sunday: They have to play like themselves.

The Raiders need to show up and play the level of football that they have the majority of the season. If the Raiders can have a good week of practice and learning from last week's mistakes, they should look good in New Jersey, especially with the anticipated returns of Clelin Ferrell and Lamarcus Joyner to the defense. The New York Jets will already be doing everything in their power to beat the Raiders, so the Raiders can't make small mistakes to help them out.

Josh Jacobs vs. Quinnen Williams

When you have a beast in your backfield, you run the ball. Pretty simple game plan for Josh Jacobs and the Raiders. The Jets also have a beast on their defensive line that's very familiar with Josh Jacobs.

The New York Jets are planning on using 2019 first-round pick Quinnen Williams to neutralize the run game of the Raiders. Jacobs and Williams were teammates for three years at the University of Alabama, winning the 2017 National Championship together.

Both players are enjoying great sophomore seasons with their respective teams. Jacobs has rushed for 782 yards and nine touchdowns while Williams has 41 tackles (11 of those being TFL) and five sacks. Williams is also coming off one of his best games of the season against the Dolphins, in which he accumulated seven tackles, three QB hits, 1.5 sacks, two pass deflections, a forced fumble and a 91.7 PFF grade.

"Man, that Quinnen Williams, he's a heck of a player," said Coach Gruden. "Q is a good pass rusher; he can bat down balls. He's a really good, emerging, young defensive tackle."

Clelin Ferrell vs. Frank Gore

It's not everyday you get to go up against the third-leading rusher in NFL history.

Returning from missing two games due to COVID-19, Clelin Ferrell is expected to play in MetLife Stadium this Sunday. Ferrell has been enjoying a successful sophomore season, adding constant pressure to the quarterback and filling a need for the Silver and Black's run defense. Ferrell's return could not come at a better time, as he'll be going up against a living legend in Frank Gore.

Gore, at 37 years old, has played all 11 games this season for the Jets and is leading the team in rushing yards (521) and carries (141). Gore success in the league has spanned for 15 seasons and nearly 16,000 rushing yards.

"It definitely is crazy," said Clelin Ferrell regarding going up against a player he's watched extensively growing up. "Back in the offseason, I saw him training in South Florida, and it's crazy to see the work that he still puts in. That's the type of passion I want to still have when I'm that old playing the game. Fifteen years in and he's still training like he's a rookie in the league.

"You can tell that Frank Gore is still a really, really good player when you put the tape on, so obviously we're going to have to game plan for him and we're going to have to really try and shut him down."

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