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Game Preview: Raiders at Patriots

The Oakland Raiders travel to Foxborough, Mass., to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Week 3 regular season action. The 0-2 Raiders will visit the 1-1 Patriots for the first time since 2005. The two franchises have a storied history, first meeting in 1960 when they were both members of the AFL. They have met 30 times in the regular season and three times in the postseason.

Patriots QB Tom Brady and FS Charles Woodson also have a long history. The two veterans played together at the University of Michigan before playing against one another in the NFL. And as much as we hate to bring it up, the "Tuck Rule" game highlights their long-standing history. Despite that unfortunate play, the two players continue to maintain a high level of respect for one another. "When you play guys like Charles Woodson, who I've known for 20 years, he's as good as they come," said Brady. "He's as competitive as a player I've ever played against. He'll have them ready to go, I know that."

The Raiders know they are a matched up against a talented football squad. "It's a good football team, 11-1 in home openers. Tom Brady is the starting quarterback, 49-3 in his last 52 starts at home, so we recognize that this team plays really good at home. It's a good football team," said Head Coach Dennis Allen.

New England has playmakers on both sides of the football. "Offensively, they've got a lot of weapons. They're good up front, their offensive line. Their backs are explosive, wide receivers can make some plays down the field, tight ends are good at receiving the ball down the field, so that's going to be a challenge," said Coach Allen. "Defensively, I think they're very aggressive. They're big, they're physical. They're outstanding in the secondary. Obviously, Darrelle Revis has been a top-notch corner in this league and he's playing at a high level, so that's a challenge…and then special teams. This is a team that is very well coached, they play very well and we're going to have to play well to have an opportunity to beat them."

Brady, a Bay Area-native, has established himself as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. Since entering the league in 2000, Brady has thrown for 49,547 yards and 361 touchdowns. "Tom Brady is obviously a great quarterback," said CB Chimdi Chekwa. "He's a guy you just really have to watch film and see what their tendencies are and understand you need to be close to your coverage and get ready to make some plays because he will fit the ball into tight windows."


The veteran quarterback presents one of the biggest challenges the Raiders defense has faced so far this season. "He's a great quarterback. There's a lot of qualities that I think are incredible," said Coach Allen. "When you watch this guy and you see all the different lineups that he's seen, all the different receivers that he's thrown the ball to, and he continues to produce at a high, high level. I mean, he's extremely smart. He knows where to go with the football. You can't fool him. And then, even when you have coverage, sometimes he can put the ball in a place that you just can't get there and only his guy can make the play. So, that's why he's one of the best that's ever played the position."

The Raiders, at every defensive position, are gearing up to face Brady. "You look at his body of work and he's not slowing down and you have to respect what he's done and what he continues to do," said LB Miles Burris. "He's one of the best that has ever done it and there's a reason for that; it's because he's great. We have our hands full and we're doing everything in our power to put the best we have on the field."

Brady and the Patriots also have a productive supporting cast. With wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski, Brady has a multitude of weapons on which to rely. "He's another guy that's very talented and one of the few tight ends in the league that is a really good pass catcher but also a blocker," said Burris. "He's got a lot of elements to his game and one of their tops guys, so he's a guy we really have to account for."

Last week, the Raiders faced some larger receivers like Andre Johnson, but this week, the receivers are smaller and quicker. "It's a little bit of a change-up especially after last week going against two bigger, stronger receivers," said Chekwa. "You just have to kind of watch what they do. Edelman is a guy you have to be aware of because he's going to move around and they give him a ball a lot. They're just smaller guys so they just run routes a little differently – quicker, faster. It's a little bit of a challenge."



]( will be a match-up between a 15-year veteran QB and a rookie QB. Derek Carr recognizes the type of player the Raiders will be facing, but is focused on his offense and the Patriots defense. "I think playing against him is going to be a great opportunity, but I don't have to play safety or try and cover anybody and that's a good thing for us," said Carr. "I don't know if that'd be good. I'll leave that to Charles and Tyvon [Branch]. But it'll be really cool, but at the same time, my focus has been strictly the defense."

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has been impressed by what he's seen from the Raiders rookie quarterback so far. "I think he's obviously a smart guy. They give him quite a bit of the offense to handle and it looks like he does that well. Quick release, gets the ball out. Obviously athletic and can run – saw the play in the Houston game, the 40-yard run. There are not a lot of quarterbacks in the league that would make that play. I think he's got a great arm, can make all the throws, and as I said, gets the ball out quick, sees the coverage and doesn't stand back there and make it hard to protect for him. He's getting the ball to his skill players and he's got a good arm. I think the kid's got a great future."

The Patriots have staunch defenders at each position, most recognizably DT Vince Wilfork, LB Jerod Mayo and CB Darrelle Revis. "It's going to be a physical game," said G Gabe Jackson. "They're pretty big and strong and we always like to run the ball so we're going to have to be physical up front."

Jackson relishes the opportunity to go up against Wilfork and the other established players on the Patriots defensive line. "To play some of the best people, the guys that are recognized as the top players in the NFL, it's always a great opportunity for me to show what I've got and compete," said Jackson.

The Raiders want to get their run game going, and with the return of Maurice Jones-Drew to practice Thursday, they have the opportunity to get the McFadden and MJD tandem going again. Coach Belichick understands what McFadden and Jones-Drew bring to the table. "Strong. Strong and fast like he always is," said Coach Belichick on McFadden. "He's got really good power. When he gets going downhill, he's a tough guy to stop. He's dangerous on those screen passes where he gets out in space. He's able to get turned up. Tough guy to tackle. Good back. I think that those two players, Jones-Drew and McFadden, really complement each other. They're both good, different styles, but they're both very good and very challenging for the defense. Can't give them much space."

Meanwhile, WR Denarius Moore and his unit are studying film to be ready for the veterans in the secondary. "Going up against somebody like those guys, you really have to sit back and watch film, watch their technique, see what they like to do against man-to-man coverage and," said Moore. "And then with [safety Patrick] Chung, does he really come up fast on the run defense and in the run game and stuff like that? I think the more and more we watch film, the more we realize what type of players they can be."

The offense needs, and wants, to get off to a fast start this week. "It's really important to start off real fast. Delete all the mental mistakes and make sure we're on top of our game plan," said Moore. "Each play that Oly [Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson] calls we have to make sure we know every single detail."

The players are anxious to get back out on the field and play against another opponent. "Especially coming off a loss, you want to get back on the field as quick as possible and change that, so we're excited to face Tom Brady and a good offense and we're excited to accept that challenge," said Chekwa.

"It's a good team," added Streater. "It's going to be challenging, but we're up for the challenge."

Watch the Raiders take on the Patriots at 10:00 a.m. PT on CBS 5. You can listen to the game on 98.5 KFOX/102.1 KBLX and follow along on, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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