Well. Last week for the Patriots was a disaster. They had a 21 point lead against a division rival and folded at the end of the game. A lot of people are questioning New England’s defense due to the fact that they are statistically the worst pass defense in the game. However, we know that the Patriots never seem to lose back-to-back games and with the New York Jets coming up next week, you want the Pats to be on the uptick going into that game. Plus, Tom Brady cut his hair and is ready to get back on track after a four interception performance.
As far as the Oakland Raiders go, they finally have a winning culture developing in the Black Hole under first-year head coach Hue Jackson. They are 2-1 as well and could be 3-0 if they did not blow a double digit lead also against the Bills. The Raiders are known more for their running game and Darren McFadden. McFadden lit up the Jets on the ground last week as the team had over 200 yards rushing in a 34-24 win. Jason Campbell has talent, but can he exploit the pass defense with a lack of a big name wide receiver?
Here are my keys to this Week 4 Matchup:
An Old Friend Haunts the Pats : A couple of years ago, the Patriots traded away their best pass rusher, Richard Seymour, to the Raiders for a first round pick in last year’s draft .This year, Seymour has been banged up, but still has ten tackles and 2.5 sacks. The two whole sacks came against Denver, but he is still a threat to get after Brady. This guy has an axe to grind and it will be tough for the Patriots to contain him with his added motivation.
RUN DMC: The player to watch on this Raiders’ offense is running back Darren McFadden. He was a great running back at Arkansas and he has brought that talent to the professional ranks. In three games so far this season, McFadden has averaged 131 rushing yards per game. He played New England back in 2008 and ran for 46 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. I expect more than 46 yards from DMC this time around. He will make an impact catching the ball as well like Fred Jackson did last week.
Moore Passing: With the lack of quality from the Patriots’ secondary the last three days and Patrick Chung still uncertain for this game, I look for Jason Campbell to throw the football early and often. With injures to Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford, the Raiders have found a solution to their speed in Denarius Moore. Moore has nine catches for 180 yards and one touchdown including 146 yards against Buffalo in Week Two. Oakland could put him against Devin McCourty who has not been the same guy he was last year. Moore could also be a threat on trick plays as well.
Prediction: This game is going to be a shootout. Both teams score a lot of points, but they also give up the big play. The Raiders, quite simply, do not have the same secondary as they did with Nnamdi Asomugha. Tom Brady is not going to lose two games in a row! I look for the defense to stop Jason Campbell who is 26th in passing.
PATRIOTS 31 RAIDERS 20