Who would have expected that the Raiders would have a better record than the Patriots at this point? Especially with a convincing win over the Saints last week. That’s no knock to the Patriots however, who played an excellent game right down to the wire against a very good Seahawks team. Cam looked fantastic and in control, and the wide receivers were making things happen. When they ran the ball with anybody not named Cam Newton, they struggled mightily, and that is going to be an improvement they should work on this week.
Sony Michel had 19 yards and averaged 2.7 YPC. Rex Burkhead carried the ball 6 times for a whopping 2 yards. The loss of James White was certainly a huge blow to the offense, be he still doesn’t supplement the run game very much. Somebody is going to need to step up, and it would be great to see Sony make that step forward this week. We may need to wait another week or two until Damien Harris is back to see a real impact, but until then Cam will continue to run wild.
On a bright note, Cam totaled 397 passing yards last week in a performance that proved he’s the guy for this job. He spread the ball out to 7 different receivers. He even gave Jules a career high in yards with 179. Cam found a connection with N’Keal Harry, which was must needed for the first round pick. He also found his old friend Damiere Byrd 6 times, as he became a big part of the offense. The next step forward will be incorporating the rookie tight ends into this offense, and that will continue to make it more and more dynamic as the season progresses.
The defense is also going to need some improvement this week if they want to win this game. Steph Gilmore is still the raining DPOY, but he was out muscled by the big body of D.K. Metcalf last week. The good news is that the Raiders don’t have any receivers like that. They’ll have to use guys like JoeJuan Williams and Adrian Phillips to negate Darren Waller. Then the speed of Jonathan Jones or J.C. Jackson should be able to keep Ruggs in check. Derek Carr has looked very legit so far this season, and Jon Gruden is no slouch as a coach. He can put them in situations to succeed. On a positive note, they were able to keep the running game somewhat in check with Chris Carson last week. If they can do the same with Josh Jacobs this week, that will put the Raiders in a tough spot without the player they rely on the most.
This game is going to be a much closer game than expected coming into the season. The spread at 5.5 definitely seems like a lot with the way these teams have played through 2 games. 34-31 Patriots in a shootout.
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-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)