There are no reals secrets as to what both the Raiders and Patriots want to do offensively on Sunday. The Pats are a passing team if there ever was one. Bill Belichick keeps the ball in Tom Brady’s hand like the Cavaliers did LeBron James. Makes sense when your best decision maker is also your best player.
While no human being with a pulse and general understating of what football will argue against Brady being everything to the offense it does create a slight disadvantage for the Pats.
When New England pulled an Oakland and blew it in Buffalo a clear weakness of both Brady and the Patriot offense was exposed. With a lead New England still has to play passing football. They can’t run the rock and control the clock. Also, while the Pats have a chain-moving midget named Wes Welker doing major damage in the middle of the field, they don’t have a homerun hitter capable of getting to the edge and going to the house.
Darren McFadden gives the Raiders both of the aforementioned Patriot decencies all by his lonesome.
Now nobody is expecting much defense to be played tomorrow. At least not the type of D that will keep points off the board. Never mind Oakland shocking the football world with a defeat of the Chowds. The real shocker would be if we see a low scoring contest.
The difference between these two offenses is that the Raiders have a weapon capable of taking over the game and making plays both between the tackles and outside of them. While a lot of the talk has been about Oakland’s dinged up secondary, the Pats are facing the same issues.
Whereas as the silver and black secondary are facing Brady it is the Patriot DBs that will have to deal with McFadden.
Run DMC is one open field cut away from putting 6 on the board if he gets through the D-line and linebackers untouched. After that most DBs are defenseless against his speed, size, awkward juke moves and that chip on McFadden’s lowered shoulder.
While the Raiders are worried about Brady picking apart their weakest defensive unit, it is New England that needs to be worried about their defensive counterpart being run ragged by McFadden.
With what we’ve seen of both these teams this season it will likely comedown to key moments that could determine the difference. Neither defense has looked great but the Raiders have a slight edge there thanks to a dominant D-line.
Richard Seymour will be vital in getting pressure on Brady. That is really the only way to keep the Pats from walking up and down the field. Matt Shaughnessy’s injury is looming large at the moment but if Jarvis Moss keeps up his stellar play then it will help to keep Brady bullied.
But that is a slight advantage. Brady knows there is a book on him after the Buffalo turnover meltdown. More than likely he’ll be looking to get rid of the ball in a hurry. That could mean a lot of drives that don’t take a lot of time off the clock. Which, in turn, could mean getting more touches for McFadden.
McFadden gives Oakland a huge advantage in every game. The more he’s involved the more the Pats will be forced to keep throwing the rock. Eventually one player is going to have to be the difference if this one is close late. I’ll take my chances with the guy that can turn any play into a house call. This is one advantage the Patriots have nothing comparable to.