The 2020 matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots had “trap game” potential written all over it. Does the addition of a new signal-caller for the Patriots mean a certain loss?
Cam Newton, a former NFL MVP, and All-Pro has been quite the polarizing figure in his NFL career. Whether you like him as a person or not, you can’t deny his talent as a quarterback. His play in Carolina, especially his play in 2018 back that assertion up. Unfortunately, injuries caught up to Newton, and for better or worse, he was without an NFL team to call home. That was until arguably the league’s best head coach, Bill Belichick, came calling. For the Raiders, this could spell disaster if the team doesn’t improve.
Alex Didion of NBC Sports recently highlighted that Newton’s signing could have a potential impact on the Week 3 game.
“Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders likely were hopeful about their chances in Foxboro, given that all signs pointed to untested quarterback Jarrett Stidham being the Patriots’ starter this year after Tom Brady departed this offseason for Tampa Bay.”
Cause For Concern?
A game that felt as if Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was looking for some payback might now feel different. By payback, we’re referring to the infamous “Tuck Rule” game which effectively cost Gruden his first Raiders coaching gig. The ray of sunshine that might’ve had this game circled as a win was relying on the fact Tom Brady would no longer be the Patriots quarterback. By no means are we comparing Brady and Newton. Rather, we are pointing out the fact Belichick has a quarterback with a winning track record should be alarming for the Raiders.
“No matter who is at quarterback for the Patriots, Derek Carr and the Raiders offense still will be taking on one of the NFL’s best defenses. New England had the best scoring defense and surrendered the fewest total yards of any NFL team in 2019. The Patriots did lose some key players like Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins in free agency, but Stephon Gilmore arguably was the NFL’s best defensive back last year, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick always seems to find value in players other teams simply can’t.”
Next Man Up
As Didion pointed out, the Raiders were facing a difficult challenge even after Brady left. You’d be hard-pressed to find any Belichick supporters among Raider Nation, but the fact he consistently fields one of the best defenses cannot be overstated. An elite defense aside, the Patriots coach always finds value in players that most, if not, all NFL teams oversee. Newton could be no exception assuming he’s healed and ready to go. The notion that many are brushing off Newton and the Patriots is ridiculous. The improvements Raiders brass made this offseason are impressive, especially to the linebacker corps, but we have yet to see the Silver and Black take the next step. The smart money would say that the next step won’t be happening against Newton and the Patriots.
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