New England Patriots Week 3 Preview: Las Vegas Raiders

Coming off a nail biting 30-35 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the New England Patriots (1-1) will host the Las Vegas Raiders (2-0) at Gillette Stadium in Week 3 on Sunday at 1:00 PM EST.

Through two weeks of this early NFL season, Cam Newton appears back to his former self. He runs the ball with authority, and outside of one late throw against Seattle, he has a ton of power and accuracy in that arm, still. With over 500 yards passing, 100 yards rushing, and five total touchdowns, Newton will look to continue building upon his numbers this week and get more comfortable in Josh McDaniels’ system.

Against Seattle, the Patriots defense had an uncharacteristically bad game. Allowing 429 total yards and five passing touchdowns is not what you would expect from this defense. This week, they have another tough match-up against a rejuvenated Derek Carr and a talented receiving corps.

Interestingly enough, do you remember what happened the last time a Jon Gruden-led Raiders team played in New England? The infamous Tuck Rule game.

12. The Tuck Rule announcement – "After further review, the quarterback's arm was going forward, it is an incomplete pass." The Patriots fortunes changed quickly when referee Walt Coleman uttered those words. Still trailing by three in a 2001 Divisional Playoff game at Foxboro Stadium (the last game ever played there), the Patriots converted a fourth down, booted a 45-yard field goal through the snow and won in overtime. It took 25 years to exact some revenge for the Phantom Roughing the Passer call that cost the Patriots a 1976 playoff win over the eventual champion Raiders. This game evokes emotions.

There really is no overstating how important that game ending up being for both franchises. Merely a few weeks later, the New England Patriots would go on to win their first of six Super Bowls over the next 20 years, and the former Oakland Raiders would end up firing Jon Gruden and really having a tough go of things over the next two decades.

INJURY REPORT

Notable Injuries for the Patriots:

  • David Andrews (Out)
  • James White (Out, not injury related)
  • Julian Edelman (Questionable)
  • N’Keal Harry (Questionable)
  • Isaiah Wynn (Questionable)
  • Adam Butler (Questionable)
Cam Newton

KEYS TO THE GAME

  1. Cam Newton must continue to be Cam Newton. From a purely physical standpoint, this game is a good match up for Newton. He is bigger than any linebacker on the Raiders and should be able to run with authority. 
  1. Who will shutdown Darren Waller? With more than double the receptions of any other player on the Raiders, it’s clear the 6’6″, 255-lb. tight end is quickly becoming Derek Carr’s go-to target.
  1. The Patriots defense vs. Josh Jacobs. Through two weeks, Jacobs has amassed 181 rushing yards, 63 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. Jacobs is an X-factor for the Raiders offense. With a much more balanced offense so far this season, I predict New England will struggle at stopping the run on Sunday.

FINAL THOUGHTS

New England should be able to run all over the Raiders defense and put up points at a steady pace. On the flip side, New England’s defense is going to have their hands full with this Raiders offense. However, there is any defense that is up to the task of stopping Las Vegas, I believe the Patriots defense will be. Look for a strong bounce-back performance from last week.

I predict the New England Patriots win this game, 24-17, and move to 2-1 on the season.

Talk to you all soon.

– Zach

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