The first five weeks of the 2023 NFL season are in the books, and for the Las Vegas Raiders, they find themselves in position to move to .500 with a win over the New England Patriots in Week 6. The Patriots have fallen on hard times this season, and are coming off being drubbed 34-0 by the New Orleans Saints this past weekend.
Despite their struggles, this is a huge matchup for the Patriots, as there are plenty of storylines going into this game. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels was an assistant with the Patriots for years, Jakobi Meyers came to the Raiders from the Patriots this offseason, and Jimmy Garoppolo was a second-round pick of the Pats and won a few Super Bowls with the franchise.
Expect an exciting game between these two franchises and here are three Patriots to worry about in this matchup.
Raiders vs Patriots 2023 Week 6: Who to Worry About
Kendrick Bourne can be a real threat for the Patriots on the outside, so he will draw the Raiders attention in the passing game on Sunday. While Mac Jones has struggled this season, Bourne has been a favorite target of him, racking up at least five targets in all but one game so far in 2023.
Bourne scored two touchdowns in the season opener against Philadelphia so he has some big-play ability, something the Raiders need to be aware of. If they can stop him, the Patriots passing attack should flounder once again.
Running back play is going to be crucial in this matchup, as Josh Jacobs will go up against Rhamondre Stevenson for the Patriots. Stevenson has had plenty of big games in his NFL career to date, and if he gets running downhill, it could make for a long day for this Raiders defense.
Stevenson rushed for over 1,000 yards in only seven starts for the Patriots last season, but appeared in all 17 games, and did some work in the run, and passing game. He will be key for the Patriots in this one, as Mac Jones has struggled to throw the ball this season, and is on the verge of being benched.
The Patriots defense has fallen on hard times in recent weeks, but Belichick is a defensive guru, and should have them ready to go on Sunday. They likely will be without Matt Judon, who is their best player, and sensation rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez is out for the season with a torn labrum and dislocated shoulder.
In their loss last week, the team got great play from Ja'Whaun Bentley, who notched a sack of Derek Carr, as well as 11 tackles. He is someone to keep an eye on this week in terms of the Patriots defense, which should struggle against Josh Jacobs and this Raiders offense.