Sunday, September 21, 2014

Matchup Mashup: Your Patriots-Raiders primer


Week 3: Oakland Raiders (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1), 1 p.m.
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Weather: Showers at kickoff, 50 percent chance of rain, high-70s. (accuweather)

The skinny:
The Raiders stink. Shocking, we know.  Oakland is coming off a bad loss to the Houston Texans last week, a game in which it allowed 188 yards on the ground to add to its league-worst 400 rushing yards given up through two weeks. The Patriots, meanwhile, bounced back from a Week 1 divisional loss to the Miami Dolphins by handily beating the Minnesota Vikings. Quarterback Tom Brady is still trying to get the passing game rolling, and New England is looking to cut down on its penalties. Defensively, the Patriots were dominant last week and should be able to get after rookie quarterback Derek Carr.

What to watch for (links):
- Will Brady spread the ball around more than he has through the first two weeks?
- How much of a threat do Carr's legs pose for the New England defense?
- Will we see some more of big man Vince Wilfork dropping in coverage?
- Can the Patriots cut down on the penalties?
- What kind of impact will veteran defensive back Charles Woodson have?
- How much is Rob Gronkowski's knee still bothering him?

Injury report:
Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins and running back Shane Vereen are among the team's six questionable designations from Friday. Raiders linebacker Sio Moore is out with an ankle ailment, and defensive end Justin Tuck is a go after battling illness earlier in the week.

Other tidbits from the week:
Brady made his old resume public; Darrelle Revis talked about the respect he has for Woodson; Bill Belichick took a trip down memory lane.

Our picks:
Dan: Patriots 24, Raiders 14
Nick: Patriots 30, Raiders 10
Sean: Patriots 41, Raiders 13

Head-to-head recent history:
The Patriots have won four of the last five meetings between the teams, dating back to the infamous "Tuck Rule" game in the 2002 playoffs. New England won the last meeting in 2011 by a 31-19 margin and leads the overall series, 17-15-1.

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