Looking at what games Week Three will throw up, you have to expect this to be the highest scoring of the lot.
Both the Patriots and the Raiders have no problem putting plenty of points on the board, but neither can stop anything or anybody right now.
And don't even think that if one side is way ahead, it's done and dusted either. New England led Buffalo by 21 and lost, Oakland had them by 18 and lost, so a lead don't mean a thing here. This is going to go right down to the final buzzer.
New England are a classic team of two halves. Tom Brady and that juggernaut are rolling everybody over as usual but on the other side of the football, they have some problems.
A lot of people thought they had started to turn it round last season with that young, athletic backfield, who are capable of making some big plays on their day. But they let Brandon Meriweather go and I wonder if they are missing an old head in that unit.
In the past two games they have leaked over 700 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo) and Mark Sanchez (New York Giants), so you gotta wonder what the Hell the NFL's top quarterback is going to do!
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It's all very well having a great secondary but the trouble with the Pats is they have no-one up front to put heat on a quarterback, never mind go and get the sack. That line will just not produce any penetration, which will give Jason Campbell all the time he needs in the pocket.
The problem with that though is the Raiders passing game is their weakness. Denarious Moore is their only recongised receiver who has caught for more than 100 yards which tells you its own story, but the question for Hue Jackson this week is does he change the focus, because he knows Campbell will have time to pick a pass.
Personally, I think you gotta stay with who you are. Some teams might change but Oakland's running game has brought them all their success this season, so they gotta stick with it.
That means Darren McFadden seeing lots of the football and doing his thing. McFadden is another one of those all-round backs who can also catch the ball pretty well, but I think if they can get his running going early, he can inflict some damage on the Pats.
And that Oakland offense is not as one-dimensional as it sounds. In fact, I am looking forward to seeing them live because under Jackson, they have such a varied approach, such a multiple of plays, you never know what they are going to come up with. We might be in for double, triple and even quadruple reverses, we might even see them send Campbell out from quarterback to catch a pass.
They should be able to put points on New England, it's just whether they can stop Brady and Wes Welker.
Mind you, that's the big question for Oakland every week, no matter who they are up against. In the past two games they have leaked over 700 yards to Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo) and Mark Sanchez (New York Giants), so you gotta wonder what the Hell the NFL's top quarterback is going to do!
Now if McFadden was on the other side, the Patriots would be on their way to the Super Bowl already, but again, there is no running game to speak of. It's not so much that BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead are not talented enough, it's just they don't get the football handed to them.
Part of that is because of Brady, Welker, Deion Branch and the tight ends Ron Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but most of it is down to that no-huddle offense.
They try to let the defense run past the line of scrimmage so they tire quicker and handing the ball off to a back just doesn't let them do that. The Raiders are as aggressive as they are inconsistent on defense, so don't expect New England to change a thing this week!
We should be in for plenty of points whoever comes out on top, but I just think that it's hard to look past the Patriots in what might well turn into a battle of the offenses. You could say that whichever side finds some sort of form on defense will take this, but I can't see that happening. It is going to be points, points, points and if the Raiders are leaking yards through the air against decent quarterbacks, what's gonna happen when Brady's arm gets going? I am going for the Pats - and it could go to the wire.
The Cadle Guy
Jason Campbell (Oakland) - I want to see how Jason looks after the football. He will get time in the pocket and if he can take care of the football and not throw it away, the Raiders might have a chance. It's no coincidence that when he doesn't throw interceptions or loose passes, they play winning football. He has McFadden to hand off to, but if he is going to make an impact on Sunday, he needs to pick his passes - and pick them well.
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Pete Boyd says...
I guess there are some factors in this: 1. Can the Raiders front four collapse the pocket on Brady and force him into making rash decisions? 2. Who will the Raiders use to cover Welker and Gronkowski in the slot? Huff may not be playing. Mitchell anyone? 3. Denarius Moore isn't the only recognised receiver on the Raiders. Jacoby Ford is back. Boss has also made us forget about Zack in both receiving and blocking. Just some thoughts from a long time Raiders optomist.
Posted 12:27 30th September 2011
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