Patriots-Raiders preview: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

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Following a tough road loss against the Seahawks, the Patriots will return home to Gillette Stadium and host the Raiders, who are coming off a Monday night win over the Saints.

Las Vegas is 2-0, while the Patriots are 1-1, but it is worth noting the Raiders have a number of injuries to some key players. Offensive lineman Trent Brown and rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs have already been ruled out, while running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller are questionable.

Meanwhile, the Patriots will be without James White, David Andrews, and Josh Uche.

Raiders vs. Patriots
Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020
1:00, CBS
Patriots -6, over/under 47

3 keys to the game

Contain Darren Waller

Waller has become one of the best tight ends in the game and the Patriots will certainly have their hands full if he does play. In two games this season, he has 18 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots could get creative with how they matchup against him, especially when there isn’t much else in the passing game to be concerned with since Ruggs has already been ruled out. Don't be surprised to see multiple defensive backs take turns covering him, including JC Jackson and Joejuan Williams.

Mix run/pass

Against Miami, Cam Newton and the Patriots offense rode the run game. Against Seattle, Newton and the offense rode the pass game. Against Las Vegas, it likely will need to be a mix of the two. It is a very fast defense, so it’s unlikely the offense can be one-dimensional. This will be a good test for Newton, as for the first time as a member of the Patriots he may have to make some signifiant in-game adjustments.

Get run game on track

The rushing attack was brutal against the Seahawks, as the running backs averaged less than two yards a carry. It’s important for this to get going again, so the team certainly hopes for a better performance from Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and J.J. Taylor. If the run game can get going like it was against Miami, this should open things up more for Newton. One issue will be the offensive line is down Andrews, one of its best players so far this season.

Fun facts

1. With a win, the Patriots will improve to 47-9 following a regular-season loss since 2003. They have only dropped back-to-back games nine times during that span.

2. If Newton has more than one rushing touchdown, he will tie the franchise record for most consecutive games with multiple rushing touchdowns (3). This would tie Horace Ivory (1978) and Curtis Martin (1995).

3. Michel has 14 double-digit carry games since the start of last season, but doesn’t have a single game with more than 100 rushing yards.

4. The Raiders defense has forced just four turnovers in its last eight games.

5. Newton is on pace for 208 rushing attempts this season, which would crush the NFL record for quarterbacks, as Lamar Jackson currently holds it with 176 last season.

Prediction

Patriots 24, Raiders 17

This has the potential to be a let-down game, as the Patriots are coming off a tough, last-second loss to the Seahawks and then they could be looking ahead to next week’s game against the Chiefs. Do not be surprised to see both teams get off to slow starts. In the end, the Patriots have the advantage with a number of key Raiders banged up and the defense will likely be even more motivated than usual following allowing five passing touchdowns to Seattle.