Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- These teams rank 30th and 32nd in the NFL in scoring through five weeks.
- Familiarity between coaching staffs make this a bit more of a chess match than the average NFL game, with layers to how these teams will approach it on both sides of the ball.
- New England injuries on the defensive side of the ball give Las Vegas the opportunity to have their best offensive game of the season.
- The Raiders have a promising schedule coming up and could vault themselves into the AFC playoff picture over the next five weeks.
- Mac Jones and Bill Belichick have both come under fire in recent weeks due to embarrassing defeats at the hands of the Cowboys and Saints. Another ugly performance against two former Patriots (Raiders HC Josh McDaniels and QB Jimmy Garoppolo) could be a tipping point.
How nEW england Will Try To Win ::
It’s really hard to adequately explain how awful the Patriots offense has been recently. They looked absolutely dreadful against both the Cowboys and Saints in the last two weeks. Their running game has no identity, they put no fear in their opponents down the field, and their “quick game” through the air is predictable and uninspiring. Their receivers do not do a good job creating separation, Jones has shown no ability to make on-time and accurate throws with anticipation, and their offensive line ranks 29th in PFF pass-blocking grade. They might be able to get away with some of those things if they had personnel who were capable of making plays after the catch, but no one in their receiving corps is built in such a way. The results shouldn’t be surprising when you look at all the ingredients. While the Saints and Cowboys have solid defenses, the Patriots made them look like superstars. Consider the fact that the dominant Dallas performance against New England was sandwiched between games where they gave up 28 points to the mediocre Cardinals and 42 points to the 49ers. Not good, Bill. Not good at all.
This week, the Patriots face a Raiders defense that has been “fine” but not great. They haven’t looked dominant at any point this season, but only the Bills have scored more than 24 points against them. The Patriots don’t look like a team that is ready to let Jones loose (and anyone who has watched the last two weeks can’t blame them), and as explored above, their personnel is nothing to write home about. New England doesn’t have a lot of options in terms of its approach, as the running game and short, quick passing is the Patriots’ only viable means to move the ball without risking disaster. They will almost certainly enter with a conservative approach against a team that has not scored 20 points yet this season, and their hope for winning this game will rely on Belichick winning the “chess match” against McDaniels.