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Pick Six: The Patriots will serve as a familiar challenge for the Raiders

1. As history presents

As Josh McDaniels is preparing to face his former mentor Bill Belichick, history does not sway in a certain direction for Belichick's former assistants and the Patriots head coach.

Belichick is 11-11 against former Patriots assistants turned head coaches, and no Patriots assistant has beaten Belichick in both of their first two matchups. McDaniels could become the first this Sunday, as he defeated Belichick as the head coach of the Denver Broncos in the 2009 season.

"I know he's going to get his football team ready to play on Sunday," McDaniels said Wednesday of facing Belichick. "I don't think he's going to care a whole lot about how much he mentored me or what he did and vice versa. And that's not a bad thing.

"I don't think he would expect anything less from me than to just compete and do everything we can to help our team win, and I know that's what he's going to do. I look forward to the competition. I know they do it the right way."

2. McDaniels and his former quarterback

In his last season as New England's offensive coordinator, McDaniels played a big role in the development of Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

The Patriots drafted the quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, with the then-rookie leading the Patriots to 10 wins and throwing for over 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns.

A year removed, Jones has fought through injures and has a 7:8 touchdown to interception ratio his sophomore campaign. Regardless, the Raiders Head Coach is aware of the problems the second-year player can inflict on a defense.

"Mac is very bright," said McDaniels. "It's hard to fool him. Very accurate, sees things very well, plays with anticipation in the passing game, has great touch and accuracy. From his college career, what he did there to last year to this year, just has a knack for winning, making big plays, continues to fight and press on even when there's some adversity - very tough, very tough, standing there and take a shot in the mouth and keep playing. So, I've got a lot of respect and admiration for him, what he did last year, what he did in college and then what he's doing this year."

3. 1-2 punch

The duo of Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams has been nothing short of dynamic this season.

The two have accounted for 61.5 percent of the Raiders' scrimmage yards in 2022, which is the highest among any teammate duo in NFL. It's also the fifth highest by any RB-WR duo in the Super Bowl era. Jacobs currently leads the league in rushing yards (1,402) and Adams is tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions (12).

4. Who can contain the Pats' sack leader?

The Raiders offensive line will be facing outside linebacker Matt Judon, who currently ranks second in the league in sacks (14.5).

While Judon has been on a rampage, he may be going up against a familiar face in the trenches. Offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor was teammates with Judon for two seasons on the Baltimore Ravens. Eluemunor, who is questionable to play, has been a chess piece across the Silver and Black's offensive line this season, and could be considered a big piece in combating Judon's pass rush.

"He's done a lot of things," McDaniels said of Eluemunor. "He's played on both sides of the line of scrimmage, right and left. He's played tackle, he's played guard. So, those players I would say, just in general terms, they always add more value to your team because the more you can do, the more hats they may be able to play. And then it gives you some depth, even though it may not say guard beside his name, you can do that. The players that can play center and guard, the players that can play guard and tackle, they're not rare, but they're harder to find. And when you have a handful of them, it just gives you more versatility if you incur injuries, which everybody does."

5. Credit to Carr

Despite learning a new offensive system this season, Derek Carr has done everything in his power to deliver.

In last Thursday's game against the Rams, Carr became the third quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 3,000 passing yards in each of their first nine seasons. Now the Raiders quarterback is 31 pass completions away from joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history with 300 completions in each of their first nine years in the NFL. Through 13 games on the season, he's thrown for 3,117 yards, 20 touchdowns and is responsible for three game-winning drives.

"He's very smart," McDaniels said. "I've said it before, unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, he's learned a handful systems in his lifetime. Honestly, I don't think Derek really made a big deal out of that because I think for him it's, 'Hey, this is the process. I'm going to learn it.' I'm going to learn how to try to master the things that are important to him. Put in a lot of time and effort in the spring, in the summer, and he understands what we're trying to do, I think. And again, you can only be as far along as you are in the first year.

"But I have no qualms with what he's attempted to do in terms of trying to learn it and understand, and I think he's at a pretty fairly high level right now."

6. Last time around...

Obviously, the last time the Raiders played the Patriots in the regular season, Josh McDaniels was on the opposite sideline.

While McDaniels was still the offensive coordinator in New England, his team picked up a home victory against the Raiders in Week 3 of the 2020 season. Derek Carr threw for 261 yards and two touchdown passes to Hunter Renfrow and Foster Moreau.

View the best photos from practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center before the Raiders' Week 15 home matchup against the New England Patriots.

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