The Jaguars and Raiders are both horrible teams. They’ve already been eliminated from postseason contention mathematically, and it’s only Week 13. These two franchises are 2-20 combined after playing 11 games apiece.
It’s a stretch to think the 2-9 Titans, Buccaneers or Jets will lose the rest and the Jags and Raiders will win two games, so I believe that it’s not completely out of the question that these teams will both finish 1-15. Who will have the No.1 pick, and more importantly, who is the worse collective team?
Oakland and Jacksonville are both led by rookie quarterbacks, guys who were taken No.3 and No.36 overall. Surprisingly, the No.36 pick, Derek Carr, is having a very good season by rookie standards. He’s thrown for 2,249 yards, 14 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions in 11 starts. Although he has a rating of 76.7 and is 1-10 as a starter, it’s more of an issue of the team surrounding him rather than the player himself. Carr, at the moment, is the best of the 2014 class of quarterbacks.
As we can see, Blake Bortles isn’t fairing too well. The No.3 pick is having trouble with turnovers to an extreme degree, throwing 15 interceptions in 9 starts and fumbling the ball 5 times. He’s only thrown 8 touchdowns, and while he’s miles better than Chad “Captain Checkdown” Henne, there’s much room for improvement for both him and the rest of the offense, featuring a shaky offensive line, inexperienced receivers and Toby Gerhart, who is one of the worst running backs in recent memory.
Before their only win so far against Kansas City, Oakland’s running game was on pace to be the worst in NFL history. After a 100+ yard day by the unit, it saved their hides somewhat, and though they might not be the worst ever, it’ll be darn close. If you ask a fantasy team owner about Darren McFadden, you’ll be met with some colorful language and comparisons, none of which benefit the former very well. I was actually in London to see the Dolphins lay a 38-14 crunching on the Raiders, one that could have been 52-7 if not for penalties and a garbage time touchdown pass from Matt McGloin. I was amazed to see how easily Miami’s defense could stop McFadden, who spent more time tiptoeing around in the backfield looking for a manageable hole rather than breaking through for any sort of yardage. The team only manages 73.5 yards-per-game on the ground, bad even for today’s pass-centric style of the league.
Toby Gerhart is a miserable disaster, and the Jaguars should have never signed him. Gerhart’s size would recommend he be a power back, but he simply does not have the speed or vision to do anything worthwhile with his size or “power”. He’s being beaten on the Jags’ rushing list by both Denard Robinson, a former quarterback, and Blake Bortles. Gerhart has only rushed for 185 yards on 63 carries, a 2.9 yards-per-carry average while scoring only 1 touchdown. The only guy on the team with a worse yards-per-carry average is Marqise Lee, who has only tried to run the ball twice. Nonetheless, the Jaguars’ running game is really bad, but it’s nowhere near as hopeless as the Raiders, netting 7 touchdowns and 1,061 yards.
Although Oakland has James Jones (54 receptions, 545 yards), there isn’t very much else. I challenge anyone outside of Oakland to name me two other receivers, and “Darren McFadden” doesn’t count. Andre Holmes (32 receptions, 474 yards) and Mychal Rivera (38 receptions, 334 yards) aren’t horrible, but after that, it’s a pretty big dropoff, filled with depth guys, tight ends and Maurice Jones-Drew.
The Jags have Cecil Shorts III (34 receptions, 381 yards), Allen Robinson (48 receptions, 548 yards) and Allen Hurns (31 receptions, 488 yards), and could possibly have first-round pick Justin Blackmon if he could stay out of the slammer. Much like Oakland, after their Top 3 receivers, there’s a huge dropoff, but the receivers Jacksonville has are good, young talent, and will have a bright future ahead of them. For now, they can’t put up huge numbers because of Blake Bungles and the tissue-paper offensive line.
It’s tough to say which of the offenses is worse. They’re both guided by rookie quarterbacks, no running game to speak of, and receivers who are either too young or no-names. In terms of points scored, Oakland comes out on top (barely) with 176 over Jacksonville’s 161. However, in terms of yards gained, Jacksonville trumps Oakland in that regard. Jacksonville has had three more turnovers than Oakland, and honestly, it all comes down to which of them is more unwatchable than the other.
Loser: Push, they’re both god-awful
Oakland’s defense is forgotten in the mix since their offense is so awful, but their defense is pretty wretched too. Justin Tuck is a good player, but he’s having a lousy year behind an otherwise weak Oakland front that’s only managed 12 sacks all year. They struggle to put pressure on the quarterback and contain running backs, and it’s pretty much up to the linebackers and secondary on blitzes to try and get sacks or tackles for losses.
The Jaguars, even though their defense is weak, are a sack machine. Led by Chris Clemons, the defensive front has recorded 33 sacks, one of the better totals in the league. The rest of the defense is the problem, however, and even though the Jaguars win out on this one, it’s hard to find quality parts in their defense.
Sio Moore leads the team in sacks with 3.0, and that’s about it. The Oakland linebacking corps is one of the weaker units in the league, with not much stopping power towards the run (they give up 126.7 yards-per-game on the ground), and although their opponent’s yards-per-carry average stands at a respectable 3.8, it really doesn’t translate come gametime.
#59 Ryan Davis is second on the team in sacks with 5.5, more than all of Oakland’s linebackers have recorded combined (4.0). He’s recovered a fumble but only recorded 11 tackles. Paul Posluzny is on injured reserve, which is a shame, but the linebacking corps is otherwise just enough to get the Jaguars by.
Charles Woodson may be old, but he’s still playing strong. The 1998 Heismann Trophy winner anchors the Oakland secondary that, while weak, has done a good job against some great quarterbacks, holding Tom Brady to a single touchdown in Week 3. Despite all this, the Raiders have only intercepted 5 passes in 11 games and allowed quarterbacks to throw for 233.7 yards-per-game and 20 touchdowns. This may seem bad, but wait ’till you see what Jacksonville has been busy crafting.
The Jaguars’ secondary is just awful, allowing 257.5 yards-per-game through the air while allowing 19 touchdowns and also picking off only 5 passes. Jacksonville’s secondary allows quarterbacks to complete 64% of their passes, and somehow allowed Kirk Cousins to throw for 250 yards and two scores and no interceptions. That’s pretty unforgivable, and as a result all of the Jaguars’ defensive miscues and blown coverages result in the Raiders winning the secondary round.
The Jags allow 5.7 yards-per-play while the Raiders allow 5.4. The Jags allow 388.1 yards-per-game to Oakland’s 360.4. The similarities are so uncanny, yet so unfortunate, as these are statistics you never want to share under any circumstances. The interceptions are low, the yardage is high, as are the touchdowns. Oakland can’t stop the run or sack the quarterback, while the Jaguars can’t stop the pass or tackle. The Raiders are a house of cards while the Jaguars’ “Pearl Harbor Crew” secondary (bombs away!) ruins games for them. To say that one team is worse than the other is hard…but I have to say that Jacksonville’s defense is just weaker.
The Raiders have had two head coaches in 2014, Dennis Allen from Weeks 1-4 and Tony Sparano since. Allen may have had the hair, but he didn’t have the coaching skills, going 8-28 in Oakland before being fired after a pounding to Miami. Tony Sparano, who used to coach the Dolphins, was put in as the interim man and has led Oakland to a 1-6 record. Bad for any coach, poor for an interim guy but certainly better than what Allen had to offer to the team. Sparano actually kept the team close against some tough teams, losing by only a touchdown to San Diego. They’re competitive under Tony, and a disaster under Dennis. (Did I actually write that?)
Gus Bradley is a bum, I don’t think there’s any denying it. Although Bradley’s been given a lengthy leash to turn the Jaguars around, his 5-22 record doesn’t really inspire any confidence outside of Shad Khan’s mind. Bradley really fails to connect with players and makes some of the dumbest situational play calls I’ve ever seen. He’s a dope, and I think if he doesn’t produce in 2015 (which he won’t), he’ll be fired.
Passing Offense – Oakland
Rushing Offense – Jacksonville
Receiving Corps – Push
Total Offense – Push
Defensive Front – Jacksonville
Linebackers – Jacksonville
Secondary – Oakland
Total Defense – Oakland
Coaching – Oakland
Oakland – 4 categories
Jacksonville – 3 categories
Push – 2 categories
With all of this, I can conclude that Jacksonville is worse than the Oakland Raiders by just a hair. Both teams will finish 1-15 in my mind, maybe the Jaguars will finish 2-14 with a win over Tennessee, but they both reek like a summertime rock concert’s bathrooms. Jacksonville will have the No.1 pick while the Raiders will be stuck with No.2.