“The Tuck 2001”

Special Preview- Week Three 

Las Vegas Raiders at New England Patriots

Raiders: After two weeks, they’re one of the biggest surprises thus far. The Las Vegas Raiders have been showing people what they are capable of, especially after beating a team that so many have labeled as a Super Bowl contender in the New Orleans Saints. When Derek Carr is under control and has command of that offense, good things will happen. Most importantly, he’s taking care of the football and not turning it over which is huge for them. On Monday night, he threw for 282 yards passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Raiders have scored 34 points in their first two games. The defense needs to improve because they give up too many big plays. Waiting for them tomorrow are the Patriots in Foxboro.

Patriots: Last week when I was on the radio before week two, I stated that Cam Newton can’t run the ball 10-15 times a game. For the time being, allow him to be comfortable within the short passing game. On Sunday night in Seattle, I saw a guy who looked comfortable throwing the football within the pocket which was nice to see because he can depend on his feet too much at times. When he was on the field, he did a good job of picking his spots against Seattle’s defense. I had a strong feeling the New England defense wouldn’t be as strong as last season’s group. One, it’s tough to duplicate production like that in back to back seasons, and two, many key guys opted out before the season started. They’ll look to bounce back after a tough loss in week two.

Raiders X-Factor: Darren Waller– People better begin to recognize him. This kid has game. Out of each weapon on this Las Vegas offense, this is the one guy he has the strongest rapport with so far. Darren is a big target with the height to tower over anyone trying to defend him. Look for him to be placed all over the field on screens and other routes to get open.

Patriots X-Factor: Damiere Byrd– On Sunday night, I saw Cam connect with him a few times. He and Cam played together while with the Panthers. Julian Edelman may be the top receiver for the Patriots, but chemistry is a thing that comes into the picture. I see Josh McDaniels dialing up plays to get these two in more rhythm. This is a fearless wide receiver. He’s smaller but loves going over the middle in traffic.

Final Thoughts: Anytime I think of these two, the infamous “Tuck Rule” game comes to mind. This will be the toughest test for the Raiders. They’ll see a team that’s more rounded on both sides of the ball. The Raiders can take a page out of Seattle’s book and attempt to throw all over the Patriots secondary. New England gave up five touchdowns last week to Russell Wilson. Last season, they gave up four passing touchdowns altogether. Cam will present problems for this Raiders defense all game whether it’s with his arm or legs.

Prediction: Patriots 28 Raiders 24

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