Sunday Afternoon – New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders
A beautiful AFC matchup out on the west coast on Sunday afternoon. This feels like a preview of a playoff matchup with these 2 teams. Both are projected to win their divisions and each could easily earn themselves a first round bye and eventually meet in the conference championship game. However, before we get there, someone is going to have to win this mid-November matchup.
Keys to the Game
The Raiders don’t have many weaknesses, but one of the few is their secondary. That’s a perfect matchup for Tom Brady to work his ageless magic. This will certainly be one of New England’s tougher opponents in 2017, but no opposing team seems too formidable when you’ve got Brady taking the snaps. The Pats just need to get him in rhythm with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the game should take care of itself. Forcing Derek Carr to play from behind and throw into an awaiting New England defense will only make life easier for the Pats.
This game will be a true test of Oakland’s prospects for the 2017 season. New England will likely be their toughest opponent of the regular season and Brady by far the toughest QB. It’s going to take a very well played game on both sides of the ball for the Raiders to win this one, but it can be done. The key to beating New England is to beat Tom Brady. NE doesn’t have the strongest of offensive lines, that’s where Oakland needs to strike. Bringing pressure off the edge and through the middle and actually getting to Brady is how you can knock the legend off his game. Just getting to him won’t phase him, you’ve got to bring him down and get a few sacks. Khalil Mack is going to be a make or break player for Oakland.