Few likely were eager for the Week 3 matchup between the Patriots and Raiders before the start of the 2020 NFL season.
Now, it’s become an intriguing tilt between AFC foes.
Las Vegas will enter Gillette Stadium on Sunday unbeaten in 2020. The Raiders outlasted the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 before upsetting the New Orleans Saints. The Patriots, meanwhile, are coming off a win over the Miami Dolphins and the narrowest of losses to the Seattle Seahawks.
Here’s our betting pick for Sunday afternoon’s showdown in Foxboro. The line is provided by consensus data.
Las Vegas Raiders at (-6) New England Patriots
Bill Belichick has a history of taking away the opposing team’s best offensive weapon. For the Raiders, that’s Darren Waller, who went off for 12 catches, 105 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 against the Saints. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore spends much of the contest covering Las Vegas’ star tight end.
That said, the Silver and Black have other weapons to give New England trouble. Josh Jacobs is on a fast track to becoming one of the NFL’s premier dual-threat backs, and rookie wideout Henry Ruggs III is a big play waiting to happen. The gap between Derek Carr’s supporting cast and Russell Wilson’s isn’t that large, and the Seattle Seahawks didn’t struggle much against the Patriots’ defense, including a few chunk plays.
New England shouldn’t be hard-pressed for offense either. The lowly Carolina Panthers hung 30 points on the Raiders in Week 1, and Drew Brees still managed to eclipse the 300-passing yard mark on a rare bad night for the Saints QB. Cam Newton will be Las Vegas’ toughest signal-caller matchup to date on the season, and the first-year Patriot surely will be motivated to rid himself of the sour taste left from the loss to the Seahawks.
So, we probably shouldn’t count on any sterling defensive performances Sunday. The Patriots might come away with a win, but we like the Raiders with the touchdown spread.
Pick: Raiders +6