American Football International

Mexican stand-off: New England Patriots vs. Oakland Raiders

As Week 10 has yet to play out in full it is difficult to fully predict the most likely outcomes of the Patriots-Raiders showdown at Azteca in Mexico City.

One thing is certain, the Raider will be much more than the ‘listed’ home team in this neutral site affair. Expect the support for the Silver and Black to be overwhelmingly one-sided. Sure, there will be Pats fans there, but I have a feeling it will be at least a two to one ratio and wouldn’t be surprised to see a legitimate Black Hole.

The Raiders have had a bit of a curse … for the last 20-some-odd years. When they finally looked like the Super Bowl team in the AFC, Derek Carr goes down with a dreams-ruining broken leg. This season started well, and questions regarding Carr’s leg were answered and alleviated … only to have him go down in Week 4 with a back injury and miss a couple games (which ended in losses).

Despite Amari Cooper leading the league in dropped passes on target, Carr still managed a 70% completion rate with 300 passing yards, one touchdown with one interception against the Dolphins on in Week 9. And how about Beast Mode? It seems Del Rio has figured out how and when to use Lynch effectively. The two rushing touchdowns in Miami accentuate that point.

Always the Favorite

Before the season started, Las Vegas lined this particular game with the Patriots as one-and-a-half-point favorites. I have a feeling that when the new lines are released the Patriots will get a little more love, and be listed as three or three-and-a-half-point favorites over the Raiders in Week 11. If you’re planning on wagering on this game, you’ll have to research at Bovada after Sunday, November 12th to see the updated implied probability and odds for each team to win/cover the spread.

This New England Patriots squad will be on the second leg of back to back road games when they make the long trip from Foxborough to Mexico City, while the Raiders will be well rested, coming off a much-needed bye. That said, Brady is Brady and the Patriots are the Patriots. Predictive ratings and simulations still have New England as the #1 team in the country with the highest probability of winning the Super Bowl at 17.7%. The Raiders rank down in the middle at #17 with less of a chance at making the playoffs than the Patriots have of winning the Super Bowl.

Non-Division Killers

Both of these teams perform extremely well outside of their respective divisions. Since the 2016 season, the Patriots are 17-2 (85.0%) and the Raiders are 12-5 (70.6%). In non-division games, they both excel at covering the spread as well. The Pats are 16-4 for 80% ATS and Raiders 10-6-1 for 62.5% ATS. The Pats hold the statistical advantage here, but it is kind of a wash since the Raiders’ sample size is smaller. The Stat that should have Raiders fans worried is the fact that since 2016, the Patriots have not lost a single road game. Belichick and his men are devastating road warriors at 11-0 over the last two seasons.

The Raiders OL should have extra motivation to protect their QB. Recently Miko Grimes stated that the Raiders linemen let Carr get injured in Week 4 due to a locker-room spat between Carr and his OL over kneeling during the anthem. Derek Carr tweeted a bible verse, “Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.”

Regardless of the validity of Grimes allegations, you have to think that with the public eye now on the Raiders offensive line, they will want to put down any speculation of collusion by putting forth a concerted effort to protect their man and give him plenty of time to set his feet and throw from the pocket.

This game could go either way … the Raiders will have the support and be rested with extra motivation by the big-uglies keep the Patriots defensive front at bay … but the Patriots are absolute killers on the road even on back-to-backs. If the Raiders get more than a field goal from Vegas lines makers, I would probably take that bet. But as far as who walks out with a victory, I don’t want to step in front of that Patriots road record. This is going to be one hell of a game to watch.

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