Preview: Patriots Host Winless Raiders in Home Opener


Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3: Oakland Raiders (0-2) @ New England Patriots (1-1)

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

Time: 1:00 p.m.

TV/Radio: CBS/98.5 The Sports Hub

The New England Patriots will host the winless Oakland Raiders in their 2014 home opener Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are fresh off a dominating performance against the Minnesota Vikings last week. The Raiders, on the other hand, were stomped by the Texans. Bill Belichick’s squad went 8-0 in front of the hometown crowd last season. It’s likely that winning streak will continue as Belichick is 6-1 against the Raiders in his career. As if the odds weren’t already stacked against them, the Silver and Black have lost all their games on the East Coast since 2009.

Stevan Ridley and the Patriots rushing attack could be in store for a monster afternoon. The Raiders rush defense has been abysmal through two weeks, having allowed a total of 400 yards to the Jets and Texans. Their offense made it a point to establish the run against the Vikings last week as Ridley tallied 101 yards on 25 attempts. The offensive line is finally shaping up and has another prime opportunity to impose their willpower on a battered Oakland defensive front.

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The Raiders secondary is susceptible to being passed on. Other than Pro-Bowl corner Charles Woodson and safety Tyvon Branch, several holes exist along their backend. Tom Brady has showed a reliance on Julian Edelman thus far. The team has voiced it’s desire to get more players involved in the passing attack. Look for Brady to try and get the ball to guys like Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell, who have been largely unheard from.

Darrelle Revis, Devin McCourty and the Patriots defense intercepted Vikings quarterback Matt Cassell four times last week. Raiders rookie signal-caller Derek Carr threw two picks in his last game. Carr could be feasted on if he gets off to a shaky start. He does have a strong arm and is a threat to run. He must be watched closely. Look for the Patriots to dial up the pressure and force Carr to act quickly. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is banged up. Darren McFadden will be the main work horse. Jerod Mayo is a big time run stuffer. Expect the Raiders to struggle with blocking him.

Alfonzo Dennard and Jamie Collins, two defensive starters, are questionable to play for the Patriots. Starting linebacker Sio Moore will not play for the Raiders. Check the full injury report here.

With head coach Dennis Allen under the microscope, the Raiders will hope to come out of the gate firing on all cylinders. In all likelihood, the Patriots will prove to be an overwhelming force. They have to many options on offense and are too stout on defense. The Raiders are just not well-enough equipped to combat such an opponent at this point in the season.

My Prediction: Patriots 34, Raiders 10