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MORSE: Week 15 Preview of the Las Vegas Raiders vs New England Patriots

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
December 15, 2022 at 9:34 am ET

MORSE: Week 15 Preview of the Las Vegas Raiders vs New England Patriots(PHOTO: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

The Patriots are at the Raiders in Las Vegas this week.  Coming off the win Monday Night against the Cardinals the Patriots have some momentum. They stayed on the West Coast to help alleviate the short week and cross-country travel.  The Raiders blew a win at LA Rams by Derek Carr throwing an ill-timed interception inside the 10-yard line at the end of the 1st half.  Take the sack and kick an FG and you win the game!    According to Football Database, the Raiders’ Offense is rated #8 but should improve with the players coming off IR.

On Offense, the Raiders are getting healthy with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow returning from the IR.  Josh McDaniels wants to beat his old team badly.

3WR 1TE

STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
QB Derek Carr Jarrett Stidham
RB Josh Jacobs Q Ameer Abdullah Zamir White Brandon Bolden
WR Davante Adams DJ Turner    
WR Mack Hollins Hunter Renfrow
WR Keelan Cole
TE Foster Moreau Jesper Horsted Jacob Hollister Darren Waller
FB Jakob Johnson
LT Kolton Miller Jackson Barton Justin Herron IR
LG Dylan Parham Netane Muti  
C Andre James Dylan Parham Hroniss Grasu
RG Alex Bars Q Netane Muti Lester Cotton
RT Jermaine Eluemunor Q Thayer Munford Jr. Brandon Parker IR

 

Quarterback

Derek Carr is the 16th-ranked QB in the league so far this season.  A lot was made of his reunion with college teammate Davante Adams.  Stidham has looked really good this season since being acquired from the Patriots.  He played especially well in the Pre-season.

G Comp Att % Yards Yd/Pass Yards/G TD INT Sacks
Derek Carr 13 269 434 62.0 3,117 7.2 239.8 20 10 21
Jarrett Stidham 3 8 13 61.5 72 5.5 24.0 0 0 1

 

The additional weapons at hand, along with a strong running game makes the Raiders a potentially dangerous team.

Wide Receivers

Nobody can cover Davante Adams and if they can stay with him, he makes these ridiculous one-handed catches all over the place.  Hunter Renfrow should have been a New England Patriots.  He said he wanted to play for them when he finished his career at Clemson.  Adams leads the team with 82 catches on 142 targets for 1,247 yards, 15,2 yards per catch, and 12 TDs.  Nick Hollins filled the void when Renfrow went out.  He contributed 47 catches on 77 targets for 588 yards.  He has averaged 12.5 yards per catch and 3 TDs.  Renfrow had 21 catches on 29 targets for 192 yards, 9.1 per catch without a TD.  He is a Free Agent coming into this off-season.  Don’t dismiss Josh Jacobs as a receiver.  He has chipped in with 44 catches on 52 targets, 346 yards, and 7.9 yards per catch, but no TDs.

Running backs

Josh Jacobs is the league-leading running back.  He leads the league in rushing with 1402 yards, a 5.2 yard per carry average, 11 TDs, and only 1 fumble.  The next closest is Derrick Henry and he is 300 yards behind.  Jacobs is listed as Questionable, but I expect him to play.    Zamir White, was a prolific running back at Georgia.  The rookie 4th round pick helped lead Georgia to the National Championship.  Nicknamed “Zeus”, he has 15 carries for 62 yards, a 4.1 per carry average.   Old friend Brandon Bolden plays special teams and provides leadership for the Raiders.  Ameer Abdullah is a pass-catching back but hasn’t been called on much since Jacobs has been so dominating in both running and receiving.

Tight Ends

Getting Waller back is huge.  Last season he burst upon the scene.  He is a converted basketball player and has the moves to prove it.  He has been in and out of the lineup all year.  Now they have another deep threat down the seams.  Foster Moreau was a blocking TE when he came out of college at LSU.  Former Patriot Jacob Hollister is the 3rd TE.

Offensive Line

Kolton Miller at Left Tackle leads to OL.  The former UCLA product was a 2018 1st-round pick, #15 overall.  His 1st career starts at UCLA was to fill in for the injured Connor McDermott.  He has started 74 games for the Raiders but has no post-season honors.  Left Guard is Dylan Parham, a 2022 3rd round (#90) out of Memphis.  He is having the same type of rookie adjustments that the Patriots’ Cole Strange.  Andre James is the Center.  He was an undrafted Free Agent out of UCLA.  He has played in 56 games with 29 starts.  He has allowed the most sacks by a Center in the league. Right Guard is manned by Alex Bars but he is questionable.  Natane Muti is the backup.  Former Patriots Jermaine Eluemanor is the starter at Right Tackle but he is also questionable.  He couldn’t play for the Patriots and is a turnstile at Tackle.  Thayer Munford is his replacement.  Uche and Judon should have a field day.

Fullback

Almost forgot about former Patriot Jakob Johnson.  He is one of a few fullbacks in the league and an effective one at that.  He has helped Josh Jacobs to the league lead in rushing.

 

Defense

The trouble with the Raiders has not been scoring points, it’s been preventing the opponent from scoring more than you have.   The Raiders D is ranked 24th by NFL Database.

Base 4-3 D

STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
LDE Maxx Crosby Tashawn Bower Malcolm Koonce Jordan Jenkins IR
LDT Andrew Billings Q Jerry Tillery Neil Farrell
RDT Bilal Nichols Kyle Peko Matthew Butler
RDE Chandler Jones Clelin Ferrell Jordan Jenkins IR
WLB Luke Masterson Divine Deablo IR
MLB Denzel Perryman Curtis Bolton Micah Kiser IR
SLB Darien Butler Jayon Brown IR
LCB Rock Ya-Sin Q Sam Webb Sidney Jones Anthony Averett IR
SS Roderic Teamer Matthias Farley
FS Tre’von Moehrig Duron Harmon Isaiah Pola-Mao
RCB Nate Hobbs Tyler Hall Amik Robertson

 

Defensive Line

There is no finer pair of DEs than Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby.  They will dominate the weak Patriot’s Offensive Tackles.  Mac Jones is going to have to continue the short passing game, screen passes, and passes to the backs.   He is not going to have the time to throw.  Billings and Nichols are the starters but expect to see a lot of Kyle Petko and Jerry Tillery.   Crosby is 2nd on the team with 73 tackles.  That means he is all over the field.  Billings is at 33, Chandler Jones at 32, and Billings at 29 round out the top 4.

Linebacker

This is the Achilles heel of the Raiders.  Devine Deablo leads the team in tackles, but he is on IR.  Next up is MLB Denzel Perryman with 69 tackles.   The next best tackler is Jayon Brown with 45 but he is also on IR.  Luke Masterson and Darien Butler are the starting outside linebackers.  They are very vulnerable to the run.

Defensive backs

Rock Ya-Sin is the starter at Left Corner back and usually is assigned the opponent’s top receiver.  He is ranked #26 by PFF.  Nate Hobbs the Right cornerback is even lower ranked.     Hobbs has 53 tackles and Ya-Sin 45 on the year.  Old friend Duron Harmon has 59 tackles and leads the secondary in tackles.  Tre’von Moehring and Roderic Teamer are listed as the starters at Safety.  Jonathan Abram the Raiders’ 2019 1st-round pick was waived in November.  The secondary is very vulnerable.

Special Teams

STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
PK Daniel Carlson
P AJ Cole
H AJ Cole
PR Hunter Renfrow DJ Turner
KR Ameer Abdullah
LS Trent Sieg

 

The Raiders have a very good kicking game.  Daniel Carlson is the 3rd ranked kicker and AJ Cole is the 4th ranked punter averaging 50 yards a kick.

Hunter Renfrow has only played in 6 games and is averaging 6.6 yards per return, middle of the pack.  DJ Turner filled in for Renfrow while he was on IR.  I expect Renfrow to be ready for the Patriots.

Kickoff Returns are handled by Ameer Abdullah.  His rank is #16, middle of the road.

 

Bottom Line

I think this is going to be a tough one for the Patriots.  The Raiders have had 9 days of rest for the Patriots and the Patriots are playing on a short week.  I have said this a number of times but the Patriots’ schedule has been brutal, none more than the last 3 games.  The Patriots didn’t get any advantage from the bye week, as the Jets had the same bye week.  The Patriots played 3 games in 12 days.  Arizona had their bye week before the Patriots game last Monday, and now the Raiders get the mini-bye week advantage.  I said this in the spring when the schedule came out but the Patriots have the worst schedule based on the number of days off.  Consequently, the Bills are a +8 while the Patriots are -12.

 

Can the Patriots hold off the Raiders DEs?  Will they have to use 5 or more players in a blitz to get pressure on Jones?  Can the Patriots run the ball?  Looks like Rhamondre Stevenson will be out.  Can we expect another great performance from Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris?  Looks like DeVantae Parker will be out (no loss in my opinion).  Let’s get Kendrick Bourne the ball more and we should see the reliable Jakobi Meyers back.  I like the seam passes to Hunter Henry.  Can the Offensive line give Jones enough time to complete the deep passes?

Will the defense be able to slow down Josh Jacobs?  Is the secondary, with the return of Jalen Mills, capable of stopping the Raiders’ Davante Adams?  Will the return of Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller make a difference?

READ NEXT:
Patriots vs Raiders: Nine Thursday Thoughts Ahead of Sunday’s Showdown

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.


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