Each week I am hoping to bring a view of the upcoming game from a writer who covers the Patriots opposition, andÂ this week we have Vittorio Tafur who covers the Raiders for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Vittorio was generous enoughÂ to take some time to answer my questions about Sundayâ€™s game, and itâ€™s always interesting to get someÂ insight from someone who writes about the opposing team.
Here are myÂ â€śFive Questions About The Upcoming Â Raiders Game with Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicleâ€ť.
1. New head coach Hue Jackson has the Raiders playing very well to the start the season. Do you feel he could be the long term solution that Raiders really need at head coach? Â
Jackson has shown that besidesÂ being a great play-caller he can deal with players very well. He has a swagger that the players feed off, and he has worked well with owner Al Davis and theÂ coaching staff. Jackson looks like he is here to stay for a while.
2. The Patriots will face their old teammate Richard Seymour who was traded in a very controversial move a few seasons ago? It seems Seymour is still playing at an elite level. Has he become the leader of the defense in his time in Oakland?Â
Seymour is the unquestioned leader of this team. His “speak softly, carry a big stick”Â demeanor works perfectly with the impressionable young players on the team.
3. What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the defense?Â
The strength of the defense is the line, as the Raiders rotate eight guys and they allÂ bring something different while staying fresh.The linebackers struggle at times both againstÂ the run and at covering tight ends.
4. On offense, the Raiders running game has been tremendous led by Darren Mc Fadden and Michael Bush. However, the Patriots have been very vulnerable in the passing game. Do you still think the running game will still be the focal point of the Raiders offense against the Patriots?
Â I could see Jackson getting McFadden and Bush involved in the passing game, whileÂ taking shots downfield with Jacoby Ford andÂ DenariusMoore. But the Raiders know theyÂ need to run to win.
5. And finally, what do you feel will be the key match-up to watch between these two teams?
I think both teams will score a lot of points, but the Raiders need to contain WR Wes WelkerÂ to make sure things don’t get out of hand. No. 1Â cornerback Stanford Routt doesn’t usuallyÂ follow WRs around, but he could here. Otherwise, the alternatives are rookies Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke or Joe Porter, who was on practice squad all of last year.
Mr. Tafur is predicting a 34-30 Patriots victory.
A special thanks to Vittorio for taking his time to give his thoughts on this weekendâ€™s match-up. You can also follow him on twitter at VittorioTafur.