Opponent Spotlight: Patriots Prep for Scuffling Raiders


Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The winless Oakland Raiders will invade Gillette Stadium this Sunday for a Week 3 tilt with the New England Patriots. Oakland dropped their season-opener to the New York Jets, 19-14. They were crushed by the Houston Texans in Week 2, 30-14. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick certainly won’t take the Silver-and-Black for granted, even if veteran defensive back Charles Woodson says his team sucks.

“We suck,” said Woodson following the Raiders abysmal showing opposite the Texans. The Raiders turned the football over four times in the loss, allowing Arian Foster to run all over their defense.

Past performances aside, here are five members of the Raiders worth paying attention to this Sunday:

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1. Derek Carr, Quarterback

Carr is a rookie out of Fresno State who earned the starting job over veteran Matt Schaub in training camp. The youngster can sling it around. He’s got a cannon of an arm and is not afraid to throw it into tight spaces. It remains to be seen whether he’s got enough poise and character to bounce back from a two interception performance. Carr has 414 yards, 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s through two games.

2. Darren McFadden, Running back

McFadden’s been around the league for some time now, but a slew of injuries have held him back from reaching the level that Oakland had hoped for when they drafted him out of Arkansas. He’s eclipsed 1,000 yards just once in his career back in 2010, though he’s a threat who can’t be overlooked. He has outstanding speed and can hurt you on the ground and in the passing game. McFadden has one touchdown, 52 yards rushing and 37 yards receiving this season.

3. James Jones, Wide Receiver

Jones is a big target who stands at 6-foot-1. He’s a vertical threat down the field and is physical. He’ll surely test the Patriots secondary. Jones is coming off a monster week as the ex-Packer tallied nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown.

4. Charles Woodson, Safety

Woodson has been around forever. The 37-year-old is still going strong and is one of the better ball-hawkers in the game. He has 37 interceptions over the course of his 17-year career. Woodson has one pick this season. Tyvon Branch plays next to Woodson, teaming up to make a respectable tandem.

5. Justin Tuck, Defensive End

Patriots fans know Tuck very well from his time spent with the Giants. He rushed after Tom Brady then and will do so this week as well. He’s yet to record a sack this season, but does have 60.5 in his career. He’ll need to be suppressed or his state line will fill up.

*Sio Moore and Khalil Mack are two solid linebackers. They’ve combined for 30 tackles, a sack and forced fumble thus far.