Week 3 is upon us and the Las Vegas Raiders will take on the New England Patriots. Should the Silver and Black be concerned about the Patriots’ pass offense?
The Raiders came away with hard-fought wins in the first two weeks of the season. Now, they are preparing for their toughest challenge this season yet. They’ll be facing, arguably, the best NFL head coach in Bill Belichick in Foxborough. Year in and year out, the Patriots are one of the best and this season is no different despite being without Tom Brady.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will now have to prepare for a different quarterback, Cam Newton. Don’t let the stigma of being a “running quarterback” fool you though, Newton’s off to a good start under Belichick, completing 75.8% of on-target throws per pass attempt.
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Defending both Newton’s arm and the threat he poses to breakaway will give defensive coordinator Paul Guenther plenty to worry about. Even more concerning is the talent that the Raiders will have to face in the Patriots receiving corps. Leading the way is a potential Hall of Famer, Julian Edelman, the long-time go-to target of Brady who’s now in Tampa Bay.
Newton has targeted Edelman 18 times and he has caught 13 of those passes. The veteran wide receiver currently leads the Patriots with 236 receiving yards. He’ll definitely be a tough test for the young Raiders cornerbacks. Behind Edelman is N’Keal Harry, who also has 13 receptions for 111 receiving yards. Damiere Byrd is the next one in the pecking order and the third leading Patriots receiver. With concerns about defending the pass for the Raiders already looming, Sunday’s test will be the first true litmus test for Guenther when he faces both Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
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*Top Photo: Bobby Ellis/Getty Images