The Raiders are packing their bags tonight and heading to the East Coast to face the Patriots in Foxboro Mass. As if the Raiders 15-game losing streak in the Eastern Time Zone wasn't enough, they head to a place where the Patriots are 39-2 since 2009.
With the way the Raiders were shamed by the Jets and Texans, there may not be much more necessary to explain heading into the stadium rather appropriately named Gillette Stadium. As in hide the razors after this one.
The Patriots secondary has been outstanding this season. They added Darrelle Revis to the mix which already included standout safety Devin McCourty. Rod Streater is expected to play and James Jones has put up good numbers through the first two games of the season, with a touchdown in each game.
Derek Carr hasn't tested down the field much yet and when he has, the results haven't been favorable. He will have another tough go of it in this one.
The linebacking corps for the Patriots is no slouch either. With the likes of Jerrod Mayo and Brandon Spikes roaming the defensive backfield. They will send rushers out of their 3-4 defense as well and seeing how Derek Carr has struggled when sending more than four rushers, I would expect to see a lot of that in this one.
There are two Raiders who are really looking forward to this trip more than the others - Justin Tuck and Charles Woodson.
Tuck sacked Tom Brady four times in the Giants' two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots. He will be headhunting once again in this one.
And speaking of Tuck...
Charles Woodson strip sacked Tom Brady in the infamous "Tuck Rule" game only to have the officials cite that now-defunct rule and overturned the call. That knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs in 2001. That stuck with Woodson for many years and probably still does to this day. You know he's gonna get up for this one. Then again, when does he not?
Aside from Tom Brady, the Patriots have some weapons on offense who could cause some problems for Raiders defenders.
Rob Gronkowski first of all. He is the complete package at the tight end position. When he is healthy, he is arguably the best tight end in the league. Tyvon Branch will be guarding him much of the time, although the Raiders could try and throw a couple double teams at him when possible.
Stevan Ridley is not a world beater at running back, but he gets the job done. That may be all that is needed against the Raiders who have given up 400 yards rushing over the first two games this season.
Making matters worse for the Raiders chances of stopping the run is they could be down two of three starting linebacker. Sio Moore is officially out and Nick Roach still hasn't fully returned from the concussion he suffered in the third week of the preseason. It's going on a month that he has been out now.
The linebacking corps was a problem last week, especially after Sio Moore left the game. Miles Burris is not suited for middle linebacker. There's a chance they move Kaluka Maiava to the middle and put Burris at weakside linebacker, where he belongs, but you never really know with this coaching staff.
And coaching? Should I even bother? Bill Belichick is arguably the best head coach in the NFL. Dennis Allen was listed at the very bottom of head coaching ranks before the season, below first year head coaches. He has only cemented his place on that list.
The Patriots are 14-point favorites in this one which seems low considering the Raiders have been outscored by an average of 10.5 points in the first two games even with garbage touchdowns late in both of them.
Everything about this game says rout. I wish I could offer a positive for the Raiders here, but they have yet to show one. Anything kind of fight they are able to put up against the Patriots should be considered a pleasant surprise and perhaps add some hope of improvement throughout the season.
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