The Las Vegas Raiders will travel east to Foxboro, Massachusetts, to face the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon at 1 pm EST at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots came up short on the road in week-two as they fell by five points to the Seattle Seahawks while missing out on the spread as four-point underdogs. The Raiders are entering this contest very confident after winning their first home game in Paradise, Nevada, while beating up on a solid team in the New Orleans Saints by a 34-24 score also as four-point underdogs.
These two squads have not met since 2017 when the Patriots blew out the Raiders on the road by a 33-6 score, a game that was played in Mexico. In fact, New England has won four-straight games versus Las Vegas, with one being a 16-9 win at Foxboro in 2014. The Patriots have also covered in three of their last four matchups, overall.
Newton stopped short late for Pats first lossCam Newton threw for just shy of four-hundred yards in week-two with a score and a pick; However, the quarterback also had some big runs for the Patriots as he also racked up 37 yards on eleven scrambles while posting two scores, including a rushing touchdown late in the game that cut the deficit to just five points. However, in his most important rush of the game, Newton was stopped deep in Seahawks territory to end the contest, thus giving the Patriots their first loss of the season.
Currently, Newton leads the team in passing (522 yds), rushing (122 yds), and touchdown passes (4) as the team is currently ranked 8th in the NFL in yards per game (411 ypg). The unit was really able to give the Seahawks defense the business throughout their week-two showdown as Newton constantly hooked up with N'Keal Harry (8 catches, 72 yds) and veteran Julian Edelman (8 catches, 179 yds) for big plays.
Damiere Byrd also had six catches for seventy-two yards in the loss while Newton was the bulk of the rushing attack for the second straight week. To make matter worse, running back Sony Michel (17 rushes, 58 yds, TD) has not been productive out of the backfield while James White has also struggled to remain on the field and may miss yet another week due to personal reasons. Michel may indeed get the rushing attack back on track as they now face a Raiders team that is struggling to stop the run (allowing 121 ypg). Also, Newton looks to continue his hot hand in the pocket as the Raiders are ranked 29th in the NFL in stopping the pass (286 ypg).
ICYMI: Sunday night's sights and sounds. pic.twitter.com/xtg1Ak4SYT— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 23, 2020
Defensively, the Patriots are stacked in their defensive secondary with Adrian Phillips, Stephon Gilmore, and J.C. Jackson, and Devin McCourty who picked off Wilson in week-two and returning it forty-three yards. Phillips also collected eight tackles for the contest while Gilmore ended with four on the day as the Patriots gave up 288 yards to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing attack while Wilson posted five touchdown scores. And while five passing scores can seem like a huge indictment on the back end of the defense, the real problem is that the Patriots have not been able to cause consistent pressure from their defensive front and linebacking corps.
The team must get more out of defensive end Derek Rivers along with Shilique Calhoun, who combine for four solo tackles and 2.5 sacks on the year. Also, veteran linebacker Brandon Copeland (4 solo tackles) must also step up in the middle to better put themselves in a position to win the battle up front.
Raiders seek to remain undefeated with winAfter beginning their first home contest of 2020 inside of their new, state of the art Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, down 10-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter, the Raiders outscored the New Orleans Saints by a margin of 34-14 the rest of the way to pick up their second-straight win to begin the season. In other words, they enter this contest with the Patriots with tons of confidence, particularly in their rushing attack which is putting up over 124 yards per game led by Josh Jacobs.
However, Jacobs will certainly have to work for his yards this weekend as the Patriots will bring the focus and intensity after being punished on the ground by the Seahawks. Nonetheless, Derrick Carr and the passing attack have also been effective thus far as the quarterback threw three touchdown passes in week-two while racking up 288 yards. Important to note that Carr connected on passes to eleven different receivers in week-two with Darren Waller catching 12 for 103 yards and a score. After two games, Carr has put up over 500 yards passing with four TDs.
LB Javin White has been reverted to the practice squad. pic.twitter.com/gITrACEDTG— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) September 22, 2020
It should be noted, however, that the Raiders may be hurting upfront as tackles Sam Young and Trent Brown along with guard Richie Incognito are all questionable with groin, calf, and Achilles injuries. Furthermore, Hunter Renfroe (3 catches vs Saints) is also questionable with a head injury.
Defensively, the Raiders may also be shorthanded when they take the field in Foxboro Sunday afternoon. Again, they have not done well in stopping the run all season; However, the heart of their defense in linebacker Nick Kwiatkowski remains questionable with a pectoral muscle while safety Jonathan Abram is currently dealing with a shoulder injury, yet is listed as probable. Las Vegas is allowing over 400 yards per game this season, good for 26th in the NFL.
Stats & Trends
- Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
- Raiders are 3-0 ATS in last 3 road games
- Patriots are 2-6-1 ATS in last 9 games
- Patriots are 1-3-1 ATS in last 5 home games
- Patriots are 0-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Patriots are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
With the Patriots struggling to generate some type of consistent pass rush, I will take the Raiders to keep this game interesting. Despite a solid secondary, the Patriots were shredded by Russell Wilson and Seattle's passing attack due to New England's inability to get to the quarterback. This inability to play well for Carr and company as the Raiders passing attack has been able to light up the scoreboard all season (34 points per game).
The Raiders have not played stellar defense thus far in the year and will likely have problems with Newton and his receivers throughout this contest. However, the Patriots have not done well against the number (both overall as well as at home) in recent matchups. Furthermore, the Raiders have done well against the spread on the road dating back to last season while also covering in four-straight games, overall. Take the road team and the points for this contest as I would not be surprised if Las Vegas pulled off the upset in Foxboro.