Oakland Raiders have a “Puncher’s” Chance versus Patriots this Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders travel to Mexico City this Sunday to host the New England Patriots. The Patriots bring a 7-2 record and the number one offense led by quarterback Tom Brady. Meanwhile, the Raiders bring a resurgent offense that has averaged just over 400 yards per game over the last three games. This is what gives the Raiders that “Puncher’s” Chance.
Why bring up the offenses?
Because the defenses for both teams have been underwhelming. The Raiders defense ranks 25th overall with a depleted secondary, and the Patriots defense is dead last. Yet “Terrific” Tom has carried this team and has them well on their way to another AFC East division title. The Raiders, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives.
After a four-game losing streak, the Raiders have bounced back going 2-1 over the last three with a crucial win versus their division rivals the Kansas City Chiefs. Still, the Raiders currently have only a 14% chance to make the playoffs and every game going forward seems like a must-win scenario.
How do the Raiders beat the Patriots?
Simple. They outscore them. Seems silly to type it like that, but with both teams suffering from key injuries on defense, the Raiders’ only real hope lies on Derek Carr’s arm and the offense. There are some favorable matchups the Raiders can exploit. The Pats are the worst team in the NFL covering the slot, so expect to see WR Amari Cooper spend more time there. Also, TE Jared Cook should see a lot of balls thrown his way as the Pats really have no one that can cover him effectively. Last, but not least, the Raiders need to feed RB Marshawn Lynch to establish a run game that Carr can play action pass from.
The other thing the Raiders need to do is protect the ball, and somehow slow down Brady enough so that Carr and the offense can keep pace. That will be no easy task with the plethora of weapons at Brady’s disposal. The Rob Gronkowski versus Obi Melifonwu matchup could be the biggest key for the Raiders on defense. Then there is DE Khalil Mack. If he and Mario Edwards get rolling versus a suspect Patriots offensive line, the Raiders’ chances would definitely get a whole lot better.
At 4-5, the Raiders need all this and some luck if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
P.S. It was a fumble!