The Patriots disposed of the Raiders by a 31-19 count Sunday to turn it around after a bad loss to the Bills. Now, they can begin their preparations for the Jets, who will visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday at 4:15 p.m.
Tom Brady said he wanted to learn about his team's mental toughness as they recouped from the bungling in Buffalo, and the Patriots erased two first-half deficits in Oakland to run away with a double-digit victory. It wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, particularly on defense, but the Patriots played well enough to knock off a confident team.
"I thought our team did a pretty good job [Sunday]," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. "So, a tough win, but a good win, and we kind of turn the page and get back into the division this week."
The Patriots' injury situation is continuing to make life challenging, as they played the Raiders without tight end Aaron Hernandez, defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, cornerback Leigh Bodden, cornerback Ras-I Dowling and defensive lineman Mike Wright. They also lost linebacker Jerod Mayo, running back Danny Woodhead and linebacker Rob Ninkovich, all of whom did not return.
This week, though, the injuries will take a back seat to the marquee test at hand. Jets head coach Rex Ryan has a 3-2 record against the Patriots during his two-plus seasons in New York, and he ended New England's season in 2010.
This game will serve as a barometer for the deficiencies that plagued the Pats last season. Brady struggled in the playoff loss despite eventually being named the first unanimous MVP in league history, and the quarterback has been off to another sensational start in 2011. Defensively, the Patriots were the worst in the league in 2010 on third down, and they couldn't make key stops in the second half of the postseason. The Raiders converted 8 of 13 third-down chances Sunday.
There will be plenty more to dissect, break down and overanalyze in the coming days. In the meantime, the Patriots know they took care of some important business in Oakland, and they can fly home from the West Coast with nothing but the Jets on their mind.