The New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders meet in Mexico City this Sunday, for the second edition of the International Series in Mexico. The Raiders played in Mexico last year as well, where they beat the Houston Texans by a score of 27-20. Oakland has a sizable fanbase down in Mexico, so it makes sense to include the Raiders. If I recall correctly, the game was horribly officiated and there was controversy with the refs.
Let’s hope the drug cartels don’t get involved this time around, and we can get a well officiated game. The Patriots are one week removed from their blowout over the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football. It was a 41-16 final, but the Patriots didn’t need to do much, with the Broncos handing the game to them on a silver platter. Despite the score differential, the Pats outgained the Broncos by only 60 yards.
The good teams take advantage of their opponents miscues, and that’s exactly what the Patriots were able to do. The win took the Patriots to 7-2, as they appear to be in the driver’s seat in the AFC. I’d keep an eye on the Steelers as well, who feel like playing when they choose to. They’ve looked excellent to downright bad at times. When it matters most, though, the Steelers have looked like a team who is ready to content for the AFC. The difference for them has been their play on the defensive side of the football.
When it comes to defense for the Patriots, it’s been a story of two halves. New England was getting obliterated on defense to open the season, which hit its apex in a 33-30 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have looked like a good team, so it’s not the worst loss in the world after all. Nonetheless, that game was a wakeup call for Matt Patricia and the Pats’ defense.
Since that contest on October 1st, the Patriots have allowed an average of just 13.4 points per game. Up to that point, they allowed 32 points per game, which started in the opener against the Chiefs, and concluded against the Panthers. The Raiders will be the best offense they’ve played since the Falcons, who they handled easily. Let’s head to Mexico for the Patriots and Raiders. Get our free Patriots vs. Raiders pick below.
New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders Betting Odds:
vs. Raiders +7.5(-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Patriots vs. Raiders Pick:
Tom Brady just keeps better like a fine wine. He has an unbelievable 19 touchdowns and 2 interceptions at 40 years old. His QB ratings stands at 108.3, a shade below Alex Smith who is 1st in the NFL. Brady is doing it all without one of his favorite targets on the field, Julian Edelman. Edelman blew his knee out against the Lions in Week 3 of the preseason and that was it for him. Chris Hogan was immediately casted as the replacement for Edelman.
Hogan missed last week, and will be out again against the Raiders in Mexico. The Pats got creative with Rex Burkhead in his place, using him in multiple formations as a receiver. Brady connected with Burkhead for the first touchdown of the game in Denver. He ran for 36 yards and caught 3 balls for 27 yards and a touchdown. Gronkowski and Cooks led the way with 74 yards each.
Danny Amendola was limited in practice week, and is listed as questionable to start. Barring a major setback, though, Amendola will be suiting up on Sunday. Brady has made it look easy without one of his favorite targets, almost like a college offense who just plug-in receivers and it all works the same. The Patriots are 1st in the NFL, with 409.4 yards per game. Brady is averaging 301.6 yards per game passing, which is 1st as well. The Raiders are 26th on defense, allowing 361.1 yards per game.
The Patriots may have won last week in convincing fashion, but that win was gift wrapped for them by the Broncos. 24 points were scored because of special team gaffs by the Broncos. Oakland, who are coming off a bye, need a win in the worst way. Jack Del Rio is on the clock, and without a strong finish to the season, Mark Davis will not be shy about providing him with his walking papers.
The Patriots will be without two starting offensive linemen. Right tackle Marcus Cannon will be another game, while center David Andrews is a new addition to the injury report, as he deals with an illness. Reports are indicating it may be due to the high altitude in Mexico. A sixth-round selection from 2016, Ted Karras, will likely get the nod at center. The Raiders dealt with the altitude last year in Mexico, so it isn’t going to be anything new for them. This should be a competitive game, with the injuries starting to have an impact on the Patriots. The Raiders may not win, but they should be able keep it within 7 points.
PICK: RAIDERS +7.5 (-115)