Friday, September 30, 2011
ESPN's Patriots-Raiders prediction roundup
A roundup of how ESPN's analysts see Sunday’s Patriots-Raiders game playing out:
* ESPN Boston Patriots analyst Tedy Bruschi: Raiders 27 Patriots 24. I'm picking the Raiders in this game and let me tell you why. Until the Patriots show they can stop an opposing offense on a consistent basis, there will continue to be cause for concern. Four-hundred-and-sixty-eight yards a game is nothing to be proud of. The Oakland Raiders are the best team in the NFL at running the ball and they have one of the best front fours in the game. That formula sounds familiar to me. The Raiders win this game on a last-second Sebastian Janikowski 50-yard-plus field goal.
* ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss: Patriots 30, Raiders 20. I entered last week thinking that the Patriots would lose one of the next two games -- at Buffalo or at Oakland. Had they beaten Buffalo, I would have picked the Raiders in this one. But I don't see the Patriots dropping a second game in a row. I expect Tom Brady to come out with a purpose, as some of his best work has been after a four-interception game, and I like the Patriots' defense against a run-heavy offense.
* ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg: Patriots 30, Raiders 24. The Patriots load up on the run, limiting Darren McFadden, and forcing Jason Campbell to beat them with his arm. Now, New England's defense has had a way of making quarterbacks look better than they are this season, but coming off last week's loss, the Patriots make the key stops to emerge with a gritty West Coast win. As for the "X"-Factor, here's guessing the Patriots find a way to make sure Richard Seymour never gets a chance to lay a hard hit -- or do his "X" celebration -- in this game.
* ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak: Patriots 28, Raiders 24. After a nightmare second half in Buffalo, the Patriots rebound on the West Coast. While still trotting out a porous defense, the Patriots are able to out-gun the Raiders, with Tom Brady continuing on his torrid pace. Don't expect another four-interception outing.
* ESPN Boston Radio's Adam Jones: Patriots 28, Raiders 24. Since 2002, the Patriots have only lost back-to-back games twice (Colts and Jets in 2006; Saints and Dolphins on 2009). Their franchise-record streak of 11-straight regular season games with 30 or more points may come to an end, but the Patriots will get back in the win column.
* ESPN Boston Radio's Andrew Brooks: Raiders 31, Patriots 27. I'm not sure how many road games the Patriots are going to win this season. If you couple that with the Raiders' only loss being in Buffalo coming off of a short week, I see consecutive losses for a Patriots team I think we all expected to be 4-0. Two statistically bad defenses will at least make for an exciting shootout and by the end of the game we'll all know how to spell Denarius.
* Grantland's Bill Simmons: Patriots (-4) over RAIDERS. I get it. You want to pick the Raiders. It's a fun pick. You want to think Richard Seymour is going to be fired up, that Darren McFadden is going to run amok, that Jason Campbell is going to complete a couple of bombs, that the fans will carry them the rest of the way. Just remember three things …
1. The Pats lost last week. Their record after losses in the Belichick/Brady era is something like 950-2.
2. The Raiders are coming off a "We did it!" game. Never a good sign.
3. Oakland's secondary is in shambles post-Nmamdi — it's banged up and wasn't even good to begin with. The Raiders gave up 937 passing yards and six passing TDs to Kyle Orton, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez. Brady has thrown for 1,327 yards and 11 TDs already. Unless it's one of those "everything went wrong" games (like what happened in Buffalo last week), the Pats should move up and downfield at will. So if you're picking Oakland, you're saying that (a) the Raiders are going to score 35-plus points, or (a) for the second straight week, the Pats' offense is going to have an "everything went wrong" game. Believe me, those four points look enticing. I know. I thought about it. And then, I kept thinking about the Pats leading 34-10 in the third quarter and CBS throwing up one of those "BRADY: 30-32, 345 yards, 4 TDs" graphics. He's just done it too many times. This is a stay-away game if anything.
* Madden 12 simulation: Patriots 31, Raiders 13. How will Tom Brady respond after one of the most embarrassing losses of his career? According to "Madden," Brady shrugs his poor game off with little problem, throwing for 368 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders to help New England cruise to the easy 31-13 win.