The Las Vegas Raiders host the New England Patriots on Sunday in Week 6. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PT.
Let’s look at the keys to victory for Las Vegas.
Be the better team:
The Patriots, 1-4, are awful. They lack talent on both sides of the ball and have some big injuries. They have not competed in recent games. If the Raiders can play clean, smart football and not turn the ball over, they should win this game fairly easily. But can they?
Don’t let them get going:
The Patriots lost 34-0 at home to Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 and they lost 38-3 to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4. That’s a combined whipping of 72-3 in the past two games. New England has surrendered 69 unanswered points in this stretch and hasn’t scored a touchdown in 10 quarters. The Raiders have to make sure New England doesn’t score early and gets its confidence back. The Raiders have to keep them down an unconfident early.
Stop the run:
The Patriots’ offense has been poor and quarterback Mac Jones is struggling. But the Patriots can move the ball on the ground some and the Raiders’ run defense hasn’t been great. So, if New England can get the ground game going, it may be able to stay in the game.
Protect Jimmy G.:
The Raiders’ offensive line was the only unit in the NFL not to allow a sack in the first two games of the season. They’ve struggled badly since and have allowed 15 sacks in the past three games. Jimmy Garoppolo can’t get much going if he’s not protected. That has to change now.
Jones has truly been terrible this year. Still, the Raiders need to make him uncomfortable as possible. The Raiders’ pass-rush has been iffy at times (other than Maxx Crosby, of course). A big game in this area would go a long way to helping the Raiders win.