Las Vegas (2-0) at New England (1-1)
When: Sunday, September 27th, 2020
Where: Gillette Stadium,
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: New England -7/46.5
Cam Newton appears to have found a home and a coach who can help him live up to his potential in the New England Patriots. The former NFL MVP will take to the field on Sunday afternoon to take on the undefeated Las Vegas Raiders in a Week 3 matchup of AFC foes. Newton has completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 552 yards to go along with his 122 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The four rushing scores are the most in NFL history for a quarterback through two games, but he was stopped at the 2-yard line as time expired last Sunday night in a 35-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Las Vegas is coming off a big Monday Night Football win in their home debut, defeating the New Orleans Saints 34-24 to improve to 2-0 on the young season. The Raiders scored 34 points in both of their wins as quarterback Derek Carr has completed 73.5 percent of his passes for 521 yards and four touchdowns without being intercepted.
Despite the perfect record, Las Vegas comes into this contest as almost a touchdown underdog to the 1-1 Patriots with a total set at 47 according to Bovada. The Raiders have been a surprisingly potent cover option early in the season in recent years, having gone 11-3 ATS in their last 14 September road games. But New England has gone 4-1 ATS in their last five home games in September. The Raiders are 5-1 to the Under in their last six road games, while the Pats have converted the Under in six of their previous eight September contests.
Carr’s top target last year was tight end Darren Waller with 1,145 yards receiving and he seems to be on a similar pace in 2020. Waller has been targeted 24 times and has hauled in 18 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders will be going up against a Patriots defense that was scorched for five touchdown passes at the hands of Russell Wilson last week. The defense could use improvement after allowing 27 points and 406 yards per contest thus far. Las Vegas has just one sack and the failure to pressure quarterbacks could be detrimental this week versus Newton. The Raiders offensive line is banged up with guard Richie Incognito (Achilles) on injured reserve. Others missing practice were running back Josh Jacobs (hip), Waller (knee), offensive tackle Trent Brown (calf), guard/tackle Denzelle Good (thumb/illness), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral) and defensive end Carl Nassib (illness). Las Vegas will host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.
The scheme of the Patriots offense has changed dramatically with the arrival of Newton, who already has 11 red-zone rushing attempts through two games – fourth-most in the entire league, and as many as Tom Brady had over the entire 2019 season. He will face a Raiders team who has yet to see a mobile quarterback this year and have surrendered 285.5 passing yards per game – 29th in the league. The Patriots should be able to limit Carr this week after getting punked by Wilson and Seattle a week ago. New England surrendered just four touchdowns to wide receivers during the entire 2019 season. Center David Andrews (hand) was the only player to miss Wednesday’s practice due to injury. Running back James White was also absent as he deals with a family tragedy. The Patriots will be at Kansas City next week.
This Patriots defense is better than what they looked like last week. Of course, Russell Wilson will do that to opposing teams. The Raiders are going to have an extremely tough time trying to corral Newton in this one. I like the Patriots to win by more than a touchdown.
Pick: Patriots -6.5
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