The Patriots take on the Oakland Raiders this Sunday for New England’s first home opener of the season. Both teams are looking for wins, New England their 2nd, and Oakland their first.
There are 3 important matchups in this game New England must win in order for the team to pull off their 2nd win of the season.
1. Patriots DL Vs Raiders RB: Big matchup here and the toughest back the Pats will face on the Raiders won’t be Maurice Jones-Drew but Darren McFadden. Jones-Drew had 9 carries against the Jets for 11 yards and didn’t play against the Texans. He just isn’t the same, but McFadden has done well in place of Drew with 16 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. He’s a big and tough running back whose hard to bring down. He does have wheels on him too. We all know Oakland is bad, but if McFadden breaks out, the Raiders could make things interesting. If New England stops the run game, then they make Oakland pass which is bad for Oakland.
2. Patriots OL Vs Raiders DL: The Patriots have to protect Tom Brady. If they do that then Brady will score touchdowns and if Brady throws touchdowns the Pats will win. The Raiders aren’t exactly getting pressure on the QB, but with the likes of Lamar Woodley, Justin Tuck, and Antonio Smith, the Pats has to bring their A game, just in case. Also, Khalil Mack, a talented rookie, who said he wants to sack Tom Brady, will be ready to bring his best game. The Patriots need to protect against the line and the blitzes.
3. Patriots WR Vs Raiders DB: Can anyone aside from Edelman get open? Can they get open fast enough? I mean Edelman has been going “ham” this season and when Gronk is not limited he will too, but can anyone else step up? Well, they should against this Oakland team, and if they don’t, oh boy. The Pats should be fine, but if there was ever a game to break out for Amendola or LaFell, this is that game.