During the 2022 NFL season, Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs took the NFL landscape by storm. The veteran from the University of Alabama ran all over defenses all season long, leading the league in rushing, as he pushed his total near the 1,700-yard mark.
Jacobs was able to accomplish that after the arrival of Josh McDaniels, who had no real plan for him going into the preseason, playing him in the Hall of Fame game. Playing with a chip on his shoulder, Jacobs ran wild, and while the Raiders did not stack wins in 2022, he clearly was one of the best players in football.
That has not been the case so far in 2023, as Jacobs and the Raiders run game has gone flat through the first five games of the season. Playing against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jacobs and the run game have to get going, and not only play better, but dominate a banged-up Patriots defense.
Raiders star running back Josh Jacobs must run wild against the Patriots
Jacobs and the Raiders rushing attack is at the bottom of the NFL going into this game, but the Patriots defense is missing a bunch of key pieces. The Raiders have to establish the run game early against New England, especially with how inconsistent Jimmy Garoppolo has been in his first season as the team's starting quarterback.
If the Raiders cannot get the run game going, and control the football game, it will put undo pressure on a Las Vegas passing attack that has been hot and cold all season long. Jacobs can make plays happen on the ground, and through the air, but it will be his ability to put the defense on skates that will enable the Raiders to come away with a very winnable game.
Of course, Josh McDaniels has to be better with his playcalling, and Bill Belichick knows his tendencies in that area. Jacobs is someone who gives the Raiders a significant advantage in this game, and the game is going to be won and lost in the trenches on Sunday afternoon.