Week 6 brings a crucial AFC matchup for the Las Vegas Raiders, as they welcome the New England Patriots to Allegiant Stadium. It has been a rough go for the Patriots this season, as they are coming off being shutout at home by a Derek Carr-led New Orleans Saints team, 34-0.
For the Raiders, they have actually been playing better football as of late, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They are still looking for their identity in terms of the offense, but the Patriots are one of the worst teams in the NFL going into this game, so it is a get-right game for the Silver and Black offensive attack.
Here, we look at three things to keep an eye on in this Week 6 battle.
Raiders vs Patriots 2023 Week 6: 3 things to watch
Will the run game continue to rise?
Across the past few weeks, the Raiders have been trying to get the run game going, and Josh Jacobs has looked more like his old self than the player who had -2 yards against Buffalo in Week 2. In this matchup, Jacobs is going to get a wealth of carries, and the hope is that the run game can continue to move in the right direction.
The Raiders are having serious issues with Jimmy Garoppolo turning the ball over, which makes establishing Jacobs much more important. Jacobs is one of the best running backs in the game, and he should thrive against this Patriots defense in Week 6.
Can the defense build off a strong last two weeks?
Make no mistake about it, the Las Vegas Raiders defense is playing on another level right now. Amik Robertson showed out against the Green Bay Packers, Robert Spillane nabbed two interceptions, and defensive end Maxx Crosby was nearly unstoppable.
That means Las Vegas is getting strong play on all three levels right now, but issues remain, including getting push when it comes to the defensive tackle spots. Mac Jones is a terrible quarterback, and the Patriots offense has been anemic at best recently, so this should be a game where the Raiders defense continues their good fortunes.
Will Josh McDaniels struggle against his former mentor?
Josh McDaniels has been an Achilles Heel for the Raiders this season, as it seems like every week he makes a bonehead decision that either costs the Raiders the game, or nearly does. He is going up against his former mentor in Bill Belichick this weekend, and while McDaniels and the Raiders got the best of him in 2022, you never know what is going to happen with the Raiders current head coach.
McDaniels has to be better if the Raiders as a franchise is ever going to take a step in the right direction for the long haul. If he continues to struggle with his play-calling and decision-making, then the Raiders will have to eventually move on from him.