Who's the Guy?
Despite his pedestrian production and inconsistent performance, the Patriots' hopes hinge on the play of Mac Jones. The third-year pro has struggled to adapt to Bill O'Brien's offense, but the former Pro Bowler can wheel and deal from the pocket when given time. If the Patriots keep No. 10 upright, he can shred the defense with pinpoint throws to open targets at short-to-intermediate range.
Know His Name
Hunter Henry is the Patriots' most dependable option in the passing game. The veteran tight end excels at playing the "post up" game over the middle of the field, utilizing his size and strength to create separation from overmatched defenders on contested balls on key downs.
Don't Sleep On…
Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott have not posted impressive numbers, but the big-bodied running back tandem can punish opponents between the tackles. As downhill runners with exceptional size and strength, they can drop a series of body shots that wear down the Raiders defense over four quarters.
Although six Super Bowl rings would seemingly keep a legendary head coach off the hot seat, Bill Belichick faces intense criticism for the Patriots' slow start. The 1-4 start is part of a recent trend of futility that has led to questions regarding his track record as a talent evaluator and tactician since Tom Brady's departure in 2019.
Matchup to Watch
Ja'Whaun Bentley vs. Josh Jacobs
If the Patriots attempt to force the Raiders to play left-handed, they will likely throw extra bodies into the box to keep the reigning NFL rushing champion under control. Bentley could play a significant role in the game plan as a "see ball, get ball" defender with speed, quickness and burst to shadow Jacobs' every move within the box.
The Patriots have not found their offensive rhythm in 2023, with Mac Jones and Co. struggling to adapt to a new system. The inconsistent blocking at the point of attack has robbed the Patriots of a potent running game that features a pair of big-bodied backs with "smash and dash" potential. If the offensive line can control the trenches and establish the run, Jones could flourish as a play-action passer who tosses darts to Hunter Henry between the hashes. If Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker can make a few plays on vertical throws, the Patriots could challenge the Raiders with a balanced approach that keeps defenders on their heels.
Bill Belichick is the master of throwing disruptive tactics at opponents. The six-time Super Bowl winner will attempt to take away Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams with loaded boxes and bracket coverage, but the Patriots might lack the talent to get it done. Although the scheme could give Josh McDaniels fits, the Raiders' superior talent could expose the Patriots' flaws in key moments.
Take an exclusive look at Football's Fabulous Females during the Raiders' Week 5 victory against the Green Bay Packers at Allegiant Stadium.