The Raiders will heading into New England to face one of the most celebrated coaches in NFL history.
This Patriots team is different in many ways than their teams of old and will be an intriguing challenge for the young Raiders. A lot is in question for the game Sunday, as the Raiders will be looking to overcome injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Patriots coach Bill Belichick will have the task of trying to dismantle the young, persistent Raiders that has not let injuries slow them down to a 2-0 start.
Here are six things to watch out for in the game against the Patriots.
Spotlighting the Patriots Defense
The Silver and Black offense is coming off two straight games of scoring 34 points. Despite injuries and growing pains, the offense has looked extremely efficient and will face their biggest challenge as of yet Sunday in Foxborough.
The Patriots defense is very stingy and aggressive under the realm of six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick. Belichick has had the reputation of being a defensive mastermind as well, winning another two Super Bowls as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants in 1986 and 1990.
The Patriots are being led by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and have been effective in stopping the run so far this season. The Raiders definitely have the firepower behind Carr and Jacobs to get the job done, but it won't be an easy task against this defense.
The big guys up front
The Raiders offensive line holding up will definitely be on my radar.
Trent Brown (calf) and Richie Incognito (Achilles) have already been ruled out of Sunday's game. This will mean that Denzelle Good and rookie John Simpson will be asked to step up once again after coming in big for injuries against the Panthers and the Saints.
The one flaw so far seen in the Patriots so far is their pass rushing as the defense has allowed five passing touchdowns in their first two games. If the Silver and Black offensive linemen step up big in this game even without two of their Pro Bowl players, they have a solid chance of leaving Foxborough with a win.
Can Hunter Renfrow eat?
Expect for Derek Carr to be looking for Hunter Renfrow early and often this game.
The Raiders ruled out rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (hamstring) Friday afternoon. This will leave more production for the second-year Renfrow, which he's proven he's more than capable of handling.
Renfrow has been a huge third-down target for Carr in his first two seasons with the Silver and Black and could be on track for a productive game with Ruggs' absence on Sunday. Renfrow linked up with Carr for four touchdowns his rookie season and sits at third on the team in receptions this season.
Clelin Ferrell's moment
Ferrel has shown flashes of greatness his rookie season coming out of Clemson, however it's imperative he finds a way to step up Sunday.
The Raiders have only sacked the quarterback one time in the first two games and will need to have all hands on deck against such a versatile quarterback in Cam Newton. Maxx Crosby has been the focus of both the Panthers and Saints offensive lines so far this season after having 10 sacks his rookie season.
Ferrell was given a 73.8 grade in his game against the Panthers by Pro Football Football, which was the highest on the team. If Crosby has another game where he is double teamed on a lot of snaps, it will be up to Ferrell to pick up the pace on the other side of the defensive line and get after Cam Newton.
The weather might play a bit of a positive factor for the Raiders traveling up to New England this weekend.
After going through Training Camp in Las Vegas and experiencing the warmth of Charlotte in late summer, the Raiders will be a little cooler for the first time this season.
Foxboro on Sunday is expected to be about 78 degrees around kickoff. Despite the humidity being much higher than in Vegas, this will be a great adjustment from the desert or deep south heat.
As silly as it sounds, I definitely could see these weather conditions positively affecting the Raiders.
The Pats' No. 1 man
All of you knew this was coming.
Cam Newton has been on a tear the past two games, coming off a near 400-yard passing performance in their loss to the Seahawks. The Raiders defense doesn't have to be perfect to beat Cam Newton, but they need to be pretty damn good at the very least.
Newton has proven that he can beat teams with his arm and his legs his entire career, and the Raiders defense need to make sure they effectively use their linebackers, and even safeties, in making sure Newton doesn't torch their defense on the ground.
Newton is a very accurate passer, and it still won't be a walk in the park if they can take away the run from him. This will be even more difficult with the weapons Cam has at his disposal with Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, Ryan Izzo and Sony Michel.
Bill Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels have shown that they can successfully fit Newton's play style in their offensive system and it will be a task for the Raiders to contain him in it.