14. Las Vegas Raiders (HOME – Week 3)
Whether the starting quarterback of the Las Vegas Raiders is Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, or Nathan Peterman (LOL), this should be another W for New England in 2020.
Look, the Raiders aren’t a bad team. Jon Gruden is a terrific coach, Carr is actually an underrated quarterback, and second-year running back Josh Jacobs should be really good if his rookie year in the NFL and collegiate career at Alabama are any indication.
The problem for the Raiders, though, is that they don’t have a lot else to like on either side of the ball in terms of talent.
Right now, the Raiders’ top-line receivers on the depth chart are Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Renfrow, and either Zay Jones or rookie Henry Ruggs. Say what you will about the Patriots’ presumptive starting foursome at wideout in 2020 (Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, N’Keal Harry, and Damiere Byrd/Jakobi Meyers/Marqise Lee/whoever the fourth ends up being), the Raiders might have one of the weaker wideout groups in the entire league.
Defensively, this was a team that ranked 19th in total yards allowed and 24th in total points allowed last season. While I’ll be the first to admit (and I did) that last year’s stats are last year’s stats and shouldn’t be held as gospel this year since it’s a brand new team, the Raiders D still isn’t keeping Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels up at night.
I just don’t see how Las Vegas wins this game at Gillette in Week 3. The strength of this New England team is its defense — and more specifically, its secondary. If the Pats utterly shut down Derek Carr and the Raiders receivers while keeping Josh Jacobs in front of them, it’s easy to imagine that Stidham and the New England offense score enough on the day to come out with a win.