When going simply by regular season record, the Las Vegas Raiders should be favored against the New England Patriots later today: Jon Gruden’s team has won both its games so far this season, while Bill Belichick’s has gone 1-1 coming off a prime time loss against the Seattle Seahawks. And yet, the oddsmakers believe that New England will come away victoriously.
The team playing at home might have something to do with that, even though there will be no classic home field advantage for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. After all, the team is currently not hosting any fans as a precautionary measure to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, New England is heading into the contest as six-point favorites to win and improve its record to 2-1 on the year.
Why is that? Las Vegas coming off a short week might have something to do with that, just like the Patriots’ 49-11 record after a loss since 2003.
However, the team’s overall makeup and the promise it showed on the offensive side of the ball in Seattle also could be contributing factors to the odds. The question now becomes what the Patriots will have to do in order to live up to them and send the Raiders home with their first loss of the season. To get an answer, we asked Cam Mellor from Pats Pulpit’s sister site Silver and Black Pride about his thoughts.
”Derek Carr gets pressured early and often and Cam Newton unleashes a few deep shots to test the Raiders secondary,“ said Cam. ”A couple of those deep shots make their way home and into the end zone while Carr forces one too many throws to Darren Waller in tight coverage, ending up in the laps of any number of talented Patriots defensive backs.”
All of those things could very well happen today. For one, New England’s defense has registered a pressure percentage of 32.4 so far this season — fourth best in the NFL. Meanwhile, the unit has a league-high four interceptions on its résumé. On the other side of the ball, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has shown that he can successfully throw the deep ball during his team’s game in Seattle on Sunday night. The veteran QB and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will likely not be afraid to go back to this well if the chances present themselves.
Of course, for all of those to happen New England would need to do something no club has accomplished this season: pick off Derek Carr, who has not thrown an interception on 68 pass attempts this season. Accordingly, Cam believes that the Patriots will have a hard time following the road map to success he laid out for them: “I don’t see it happening this week.”
Either way, the game between the two teams should be a fun one — and one showing where both currently stand within the AFC.