Long, cross-country trips often catch some teams out and while the New York Jets enjoyed their previous trip to Oakland, traditionally it has not been a happy hunting ground for the AFC East club.
While the Jets romped to an expected victory over Jacksonville last week, New York quarterback Mark Sanchez threw two interceptions and received a bruised throwing arm.
It is not going to stop him playing in Sunday’s AFC battle at the Raiders.
Two years ago, Sanchez was instrumental in leading the Jets to a 38-0 blow-out victory in Oakland.
In the fourth quarter, he sat on the sidelines and was caught on camera having his own blow-out, eating a hot dog. It was perhaps the worst thing he could have done. He took a lot of flak for eating the sideline snack, the Raiders somehow seeing this as disrespectful.
Incredibly, they say they want to use this as some form of motivation and will relish facing him.
“Coach showed that to us,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly told the Oakland Tribune. “It was just a reminder. We’re going to remind him of that during the game.”
That takes some digesting, especially when you think that a cricket match often entails a full meal between innings, and a cup of tea and a sandwich at least.
Baseball legend Babe Ruth was known to eat, among many things, Mrs Gehrig’s Pickled Eels between innings!
It was rumoured that soccer star Neil Ruddock regularly ate a five-course meal at half-time when he was playing for Swindon Town and had to have his shorts specially tailored.
Quarterbacks are role models and some fans tend to follow the diets of their favourite players. Dallas passer Tony Romo (one of his many fans, left) is very selective. To him, Rabbit food is preferable. Pittsburgh counterpart Ben Roethisberger, meanwhile, is from the Elvis Diet school.
What really dogged the Raiders was their defence, which had the same security you’d find at a Wiggles concert.
Things might be a little different on Sunday. Sanchez might have a burger instead.
The Jets may be 2-0 and off to a great start. But as good as they are along their defensive line, their offensive line is not getting the job done. They are averaging just 3.04 yards per attempt in the running game which head coach Rex Ryan places great emphasis upon.
New York will have to rely on their defence to stop a punishing Oakland running attack (4.65 yards per attempt). The Jets are allowing just 3.32 yard per attempt on the ground. That’s a somewhat skewed stat, for they have faced Dallas’s anaemic ground game and were allowed to load up against Jacksonville’s running game last week, because the Jaguars’ pop-gun passing attack was led by the rather enjoyable star of ‘Carry On Quarterbacking’, Luke McCown.
Given that the Jets are travelling across country and facing a hard-nosed team who can pound it on the ground, there may be merit in taking the Raiders with the points on the handicap in their home opener.
We can’t be sure how many die-hard Carolina fans will show up for the clash against visiting Jacksonville, but those who do deserve a medal or a free psychiatric evaluation.
But at least they get to see Cam Newton, the Panthers’ rookie quarterback who has thrown for an incredible 854 yards in his first two NFL starts.
Carolina have the worst pass defence in the NFL after the first two weeks, however, and they face a rookie themselves as former Missouri star Blaine Gabbert is set to make his first start at quarterback.
Also, that was quite a commitment head coach Jack Del Rio made to McCown. What was it, about eight minutes?
At least Carolina are playing to Newton’s strengths. Panthers’ fans can take a few interceptions along the way – he had three costly turnovers in defeat against Green Bay last week – and at least you know what you’re getting with him.
With most other quarterbacks, as it is with girls, the first time is usually a disaster (sorry Cindy).
Despite having an excuse for suffering more injuries to star players than the average run with the bulls in Pamplona, Kansas City appear to have joined the two-team short-list of teams in the 2011 season’s express checkout line (along with the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts).
Star running back Jamaal Charles joined excellent safety Eric Berry and superb tight end Tony Moeaki on the season-ending Injured Reserve list this week and the AFC West champions have mailed it in after two games.
They have been outscored 89-10 in their first two contests and they now have to face San Diego’s potent attack, keen to put a sloppy defeat at New England behind them.
The Chargers should win handily, but betting on them comes with a caveat: They have a frustrating penchant for not doing the business when expected to do so.
San Diego -14.5