NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (1-1) VS. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (2-0) Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 1 p.m. ET. Gillette Stadium.
The New England Patriots return to the confines of Gillette Stadium this week to square off against the Las Vegas Raiders for the first time. The franchise relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas this last offseason. This week’s game vs. the Raiders marks the first of three consecutive games against the AFC West.
After playing the Raiders, the Patriots travel to Kansas City (Oct.4) and play at home against Denver (Oct. 11). The Patriots will play against the Los Angeles Chargers to complete the games against the AFC West on Dec. 6 in their first visit to Sofi Stadium. The Patriots last played the AFC West in 2017 and had a similar stretch of three straight games against opponents from that division.
The Patriots and Raiders will meet for the 36th time overall and for the 33rd time in regular-season play this Sunday when the Patriots host the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium.
The meeting will mark the Patriots first game against the Raiders as the Las Vegas Raiders after the franchise relocated from Oakland this year.
The Patriots and Raiders last played against each other on Nov. 19 2017, at Estadio Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in a Raiders home game. The Patriots won the international match, 33-8.
The Raiders last played at Gillette Stadium on Sept. 21, 2014, a 16-9 New England win.
The teams have met three times in the playoffs, producing a memorable, classic encounter on each occasion. In 1976, the Patriots beat the Raiders, 48-17, in the regular season before losing a playoff game in Oakland, 24-21. The Patriots advanced to their first AFC Championship Game in 1985 after beating the Raiders, 27-20, in Los Angeles. In 2001, the Patriots beat Oakland, 16-13, in overtime in the last game ever played in Foxboro Stadium, en route to winning Super Bowl XXXVI.
The Patriots lead the all-time series with a 19-15-1 advantage, including a 2-1 postseason record.
The series between the two charter members of the American Football League dates back to 1960, the inaugural season for each club.
Although the teams played frequently prior to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, they have met just seven times in the regular-season since 1989.
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: 1-1 (incl. 1-0 in playoffs)
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City: 1-0
Bill Belichick vs. Raiders: 8-1 (6-1 with New England)
John Gruden vs. New England: 1-1 (incl. 0-1 in playoffs)
SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS
By Paul Perillo
When the Patriots run – Edge: Patriots
After an extremely impressive opener for the Patriots offensive line and running game, things took a significant step back in Week 2 in Seattle. Other than some occasional Cam Newton scrambles, the Seahawks contained the Patriots on the ground. That included Newton on a pair of designed runs late in the game, one a two-point conversion and the other on the deciding final snap from the 1. The good news is Las Vegas (still getting used to that) doesn’t figure to be as formidable up front. The Raiders defense has struggled in the early going, although most teams struggle to contain Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey, as was the case in the opener. Vegas is allowing 4.9 yards per rush, and although it’s early that was the case in 2019 as well. Sony Michel has yet to find much success in his two games and has been held to 3.3 yards per carry as the lead back. Rex Burkhead, who has basically split the load with Michel, has been even less effective with a 2.6-yard average. But Newton’s production has to be factored into the equation. He leads the team in attempts (26), yards (122) and touchdowns (4) while basically carrying the offense. The Raiders front of Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins inside of Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby will have its hands full with the physical and mobile Patriots offensive line. Linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski, Nicholas Morrow and Cory Littleton had trouble containing McCaffrey and New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara (6.1-yard average) on the edges, which the Patriots may try to exploit as the run game looks to add dimensions as the season progresses.
When the Patriots pass – Edge: Patriots
Newton showed he can still light up an overmatched secondary with his performance in the fourth quarter in Seattle. He leaned heavily on Julian Edelman but also mixed in some effective completions to N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd. The Raiders secondary is still developing but has struggled in the early going. Corners Damon Arnette, Trayvon Mullen and Lamarcus Joyner join safeties Jonathan Abram and Erik Harris. There’s some talent in the group but also some inexperience, particularly rookie first-round pick Arnette. The former Ohio State Buckeye has allowed some plays as he gets acclimated to the NFL but his speed and instincts have also been on display. And the Raiders pass rush has been non-existent early on. Maxx Crosby, who had 10 sacks as a rookie in 2019, has been quiet. The Patriots will need to find ways to get others involved. Edelman was immense in Seattle but at some point the physical pounding he takes weekly will take its toll. Harry and Byrd showed some promise, particularly Byrd, who impressed with his route-running near the sidelines on some key third downs. Newton will continue to evolve in the Patriots passing game as well, perhaps by utilizing the tight ends a bit more frequently as they become more comfortable as well.
When the Raiders run – Edge: Raiders
The Patriots struggles stopping the run reared their ugly head once again in Seattle last week as the Seahawks piled up over 150 yards on the ground. That could spell trouble this week with impressive second-year running back Josh Jacobs heading to town. Jacobs had three touchdowns in the season-opening win in Carolina and followed that with another workmanlike outing Monday night against the Saints. Jacobs averages just 3.5 yards per carry thus far but the Raiders will work to establish him between the tackles. He will be a huge test for the Patriots undermanned front, especially if right tackle Trent Brown can return to the lineup after missing the Saints game with a calf injury. With Brown the Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football, and personnel issues have caused the Patriots to use some lighter fronts in the early going, which could mean trouble against Jacobs and the Las Vegas front. This matchup will be one of the main keys on Sunday as Jon Gruden tries to shorten the game by playing power football.
When the Raiders pass – Edge: Raiders
The Raiders strong offense is not limited to the running game. Derek Carr can throw it, too, and he has some impressive weapons to choose from. Rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs can fly. He’s the type of player that longtime Raiders owner Al Davis would have loved. He’s been impressive at the start of his career with his ability to get deep. Darren Waller is one of the league’s most underrated tight ends. He had over 1,100 yards receiving in 2019, and he will be a difficult matchup for a Patriots secondary that struggled last week in Seattle. Carr loves Waller and goes to him often. In the Monday night win Waller was targeted on 16 of Carr’s 34 throws and accounted for 12 of the 28 completions. He’s an athletic handful. Elsewhere Carr will try to mix in Bryan Edwards, Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones – a solid if unspectacular set of wideouts. Renfrow, the former Clemson star, does his best work in the slot and on third downs as Carr’s safety net. The Patriots secondary will look to bounce back from a poor performance in Seattle where it allowed five touchdown passes. Stephon Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has been slow out of the gates. Don’t expect that to continue.
The Patriots still don’t look like themselves in the kicking game. What traditionally has been a strength has been spotty at best in the first two weeks. Nick Folk has missed a pair of field goals, the kickoff coverage allowed Seattle’s Travis Homer to get past the 25-yard line three times Sunday night, including to the 43 on one return and the Patriots return game has been quiet in both games. Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carson has been solid thus far, particularly on a 54-yard field goal in the final two minutes that salted away a huge Monday night win over the Saints. A.J. Cole handles the punting for the Raiders while Jake Bailey remains solid in that role for New England. Jalen Richard (kicks) and Renfrow (punts) will handle returns for the Raiders while the Patriots have used Byrd on punts while rotating J.J. Taylor and Kyle Dugger on kicks. Neither provided much of a boost in Seattle.
TALE OF THE TAPE
2020 REGULAR SEASON
Total Yards Gained
Total Offense (Rank)
Points Per Game
Total Yards Allowed
Total Defense (Rank)
Points Allowed / Game
Sacks Allowed / Yards Lost
Sacks Made / Yards
Total Touchdowns Scored
Penalties Against / Yards
Punts / Avg.
QB CAM NEWTON completed 30 of 44 passes (68.1 pct.) for 397 yards & TD vs. INT for 94.6 rating & rushed for 47 yards & 2 TDs last week, his 8th-career game with 2+ rush TDs, most all-time by QB. Aims for his 3rd in row vs. Raiders with rush TD. Leads all QBs with 4 rush TDs, most by QB through 1st 2 weeks of season in NFL history.
QB DEREK CARR completed 28 of 38 passes (73.7 pct.) for 282 yards & 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 120.7 rating last week. Aims for 3rd in row on road with 97+ rating. Is 1 of 2 in NFL (JOSH ALLEN) with 500+ pass yards, 70+ comp. pct. & 0 INTs this season.
T Trent Brown – (2018)
RBC Kirby Wilson – Running Backs Coach – (1997-99)
LB Shilique Calhoun – (2016-18)
NEW ENGLAND TIES
GM Mike Mayock – College: Boston College (1978-80)
Maurice Hurst – High School: Xaverian High, Westwood, Mass. Hometown: Canton, Mass.
PATRIOTS TIES TO LAS VEGAS / NEVADA
DL Lawrence Guy – Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Bill Belichick enters this week third all-time with 274 career regular-season wins, behind Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318).
Belichick’s 305 career victories as a heads coach (including postseason) are third-most all-time behind George Halas (324) and Don Shula (347).
Julian Edelman enters Week 3 with 612 career regular-season receptions, second-most in team history behind Wes Welker’s 672.
With one touchdown catch, Edelman will tie Welker with his 37th career touchdown reception, good for sixth-most in team history.
Edelman has 41 career touchdowns overall, good for 11th in franchise history. Gino Cappelletti, Irving Fryar and Larry Garron are tied for eighth with 42 career touchdowns.
The Patriots are 22-3 (postseason included) when Julian Edelman catches a touchdown pass.
Edelman set a single-game career-high with 179 yard’s receiving in Week 2 at Seattle. He has put up back-to-back 100-yard receiving performances twice in his career.
With one interception, Stephon Gilmore will move into a tie with Tedy Bruschi, Dick Felt and Brandon Meriweather for 25th place in team history with 12 interceptions as a Patriot.
With his next interception, Devin McCourty (27) will tie Mike Haynes for sixth all-time in Patriots history with 28 career interceptions.
If McCourty returns another interception for a TD this season, he will tie the team record with two pick-sixes in a single year. The feat has been accomplished nine times.
Cam Newton needs 1 yard rushing to move past Randall Cunningham into second place in NFL history for QB rush yards.
Newton has rushed for multiple touchdowns in each of the first two games this season. The Patriots single-season record for consecutive games with two-plus rushing touchdowns is three by Horace Ivory (1978) and Curtis Martin (1995). The most recent instances of multiple rushing touchdowns in three consecutive games came from Pittsburgh RB James Conner (3) and former L.A. Rams RB Todd Gurley (3) in 2018.
No NFL QB has rushed for multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games. The NFL record for most multiple-rush TD games overall in a single season by a QB is three by five players, including Cam Newton in 2011.
Newton’s personal record for consecutive games with at least one rushing touchdown is four, in 2011. He also had a separate three-game rushing touchdown streak in 2011 and a three-game rush TD streak in 2012.
Newton, who has the most rushing first downs by quarterback in NFL history with 372, is tied for first in the NFL in 2020 with Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott and the Raiders RB Josh Jacobs with 13 rushing first downs.
Newton has 26 rushing attempts so far in 2020 (15 vs. Miami and 11 at Seattle) and is on pace for 208 rushing attempts. The NFL record for most rushing attempts by an NFL quarterback is 176 in 2019 by Lamar Jackson. Cam Newton’s highest was 139 rushing attempts in 2017.
James White has caught 24 touchdown passes in 79 career regular-season games. Brian Westbrook currently holds the record for the fastest running back to reach the 25-TD reception mark, achieving the feat in 87 regular-season games.
White needs two receiving touchdowns to tie Larry Garron (26) for the most in franchise history.
White needs five receptions to reach 328 for his regular-season career, which will tie Deion Branch for 10th-most receptions in Patriots history. Six more receptions will tie Terry Glenn for ninth place.
IF THE PATRIOTS WIN…
New England will improve on the NFL’s best regular-season home record since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. The Patriots enter Week 3 with a 122-23 (.841) record in regular-season games and a 141-27 (.839) overall mark at Gillette Stadium
The Patriots will improve their record to 47-9 (.839) in regular-season games since 2003 following a loss. The team has dropped back-to-back only nine times during that span.
And a player eclipses 100 yards rushing, the team will improve to 52-1 since the 2000 regular season when a player rushes for at least 100 yards.
And the team does not commit a turnover, New England will win its 70th game since 2008 without committing a turnover. The Patriots enter Week 3 with a 69-9 record in zero turnover games since 2008.
Belichick will become the third head coach in NFL history to reach 275 regular-season victories.
Cam Newton scored multiple rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive game this season and is now one game short of tying Steve Grogan (1976) for most multi-rush TD games in a single season. Grogan had three games with multiple rushing touchdowns in 1976. Overall, it marked the 14th time in team history that a Patriots QB has rushed for multiple touchdowns.
CAM NEWTON LOOKS TO RISE IN THE RUSHING RANKS
Cam Newton enters Week 3 against Las Vegas needing 1 yard rushing to pass Randall Cunningham for the second-most career rushing yards by a quarterback in NFL history.
TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Tony Romo as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Jim Rikhoff and directed by Mike Arnold.