1:50 p.m.: The way things have gone for New England for the first quarter-plus, a 33-yarder from Folk represents a positive. You would have liked a touchdown for the lead, but a three-all tie with 12:32 left in the first half is a decent place to be given how occasionally sloppy things have been for the Patriots. Love the idea of Taylor providing a jump start for the offense — if he can continue to make things happen on first and second down, I’d continue to get him the ball. Now, can the defense get a stop and get the ball back for New England?
1:45 p.m.: Good sequence here for J.J. Taylor, who has given the New England offense a spark. The mighty-mite now has three carries for 17 yards as the Patriots’ offense has started to move.
1:38 p.m.: Given the way things have gone so far, holding Vegas to a field goal feels like a big win for New England. The first quarter is coming to an end, and the Patriots really should be happy they are only down 3-0. They have turned the ball over deep in their own end, struggled to get any real offensive rhythm, and could take advantage of two calls that went their way. We’ll see if things change for them on this possession, but so far, this is a real change from their strong starts against the Seahawks and Dolphins.
1:34 p.m.: The Patriots can’t seem to get out of their own way so far. Cam manages to keep the play alive nicely there, but Johnathan Abraham picks him off deep in New England territory. Just a shoddy start for New England this afternoon.
1:33 p.m.: Throwing into triple coverage is rarely successful.
1:30 p.m.: Big play there by the New England defense to step up and force the fumble as the Vegas offense has really started to develop a nice rhythm. Not sure who made the play, but it looked like Adrian Phillips was in on the initial hit that jarred the ball loose. Again, it appears the Patriots have been given a gift — let’s see what they’re able to do with it.
1:24 p.m.: Patriots take a timeout rather than risk a too-many-men-on-the-field penalty. Not a great start all the way around for New England as the Raiders are at midfield.
1:19 p.m.: Can’t help but think James White could get this offense unstuck here in the early going. Back-to-back three-and-outs for New England means the Raiders get the ball back with 7:42 to go in the first quarter. So far, not much to write home about on either side of the ball for either team.
1:16 p.m.: Patriots get a break there when Crosby jumps on the punt play, and New England keeps the ball. Let’s see if the Patriots can take advantage. The first first-down of the game for the Patriots.
1:11 p.m.: Of course, the Las Vegas offensive line is also banged up and missing some key personnel in Incognito and old friend Trent Brown. Saw some of those weaknesses on that first series for the Raiders. Anyway, there’s 11:56 to go in the first quarter and we are scoreless.
1:07 p.m.: Patriots go 3-and-out after the misfire to Edelman. Going to be interesting to see how the offensive line holds up all afternoon with Thuney at center and Onwenu in his old spot at guard.
1:04 p.m.: Joe Thuney opens at center for the Patriots. His first snap at the position.
1:01 p.m.: Raiders win the toss and defer. Patriots open with the ball. Time for the foosball!
12:55 p.m.: You guys like the Patriots in single digits today. We’ll see.
— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) September 27, 2020
12:40 p.m.: Like I said previously, I think New England covers this week for a few reasons, and the Patriots and Raiders hit the over. I’m going to say New England 34, Las Vegas 24. Good week for Newton and the offense, and while the Patriots’ defense has a few issues in coverage against Waller, that group will be solid enough to get the job done against Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense.
12:35 p.m.: Interesting. If there’s one guy on that offensive line who can make that change — even though he didn’t play center in college — it’s probably Thuney.
12:34 p.m.: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Track Wolfson on the call this afternoon for CBS. Overall, since start of 2017 season (including the playoffs), New England is 16-4 with them in attendance.
12:30 p.m.: Looks like it’s going to be cloudy with a slight chance of precipitation this afternoon in Foxborough, with temps in the low 70s. Good football weather.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 27, 2020
Cam is here pic.twitter.com/tQsRbpEAXa
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 27, 2020
12:25 p.m.: A few stats to keep in mind heading into this afternoon’s game:
• Cam Newton needs 1 yard rushing to move past Randall Cunningham into second place in NFL history for QB rush yards.
• Newton has rushed for multiple touchdowns in each of the first two games this season. The Patriots single-season record for consecutive games with two-plus rushing touchdowns is three by Horace Ivory (1978) and Curtis Martin (1995). The most recent instances of multiple rushing touchdowns in three consecutive games came from Pittsburgh RB James Conner (3) and former L.A. Rams RB Todd Gurley (3) in 2018.
• No NFL QB has rushed for multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games. The NFL record for most multiple-rush TD games overall in a single season by a QB is three by five players, including Cam Newton in 2011.
• Newton has 26 rushing attempts so far in 2020 (15 vs. Miami and 11 at Seattle) and is on pace for 208 rushing attempts. The NFL record for most rushing attempts by an NFL quarterback is 176 in 2019 by Lamar Jackson. Cam Newton’s highest was 139 rushing attempts in 2017.
12:15 p.m.: For the Raiders, tight end Darren Waller (knee) and running back Josh Jacobs (hip) are active.
12:01 p.m.: Something we haven’t talked about yet is losing David Andrews to the hand injury for the next (at least) three weeks. I’m a well-known Andrews’ apologist, but even his biggest critic has to agree that this one is a toughie. The Patriots recalled James Ferentz from the practice squad, and he’s expected to get the bulk of the work. He’s not awful, but he’s no Andrews. On and off the field, Andrews is a giant for this franchise. From a practical, game-planning perspective, it’s something that bears watching. If I’m Jon Gruden, I attack New England straight up the gut this week and try and get pressure on the middle of that line. Ferentz will get help from Mason and Thuney, but having him sidelined is a big loss going forward.
12:00 p.m.: Newton and his production team have their hype video for Week 3.
— Cameron 1 Newton (@CameronNewton) September 27, 2020
Cam Newton’s weapons vs. Raiders:
WR: Edelman, Harry, Byrd, Meyers
RB: Michel, Burkhead, Taylor
TE: Izzo, Asiasi
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 27, 2020
11:50 a.m.: I’ve seen this game as anywhere between a 5- and a 6.5-point spread over the course of the week, and I think that when it comes to those totals, the Patriots are going to cover. The Raiders have been fun to watch and more than a little competitive, but I think they’ll take their first L this afternoon for a few reasons, not the least of which is the fact that when West Coast teams come East to play a one o’clock game, it almost always ends badly for them. But to get back to my original point — the Patriots win and cover. I’d also just barely take the over, which is set at 47 (according to our pals at Odds Shark). I’ll get you a final score prediction shortly.
11:38 a.m.: The Patriots’ list of inactives is out. Here’s who will be sitting and what it means:
Running back James White: White, who was out last week following the tragic death of his father in a car crash, did not practice this week. There are a few possibilities when it comes to who might get some extra work in White’s absence, the feeling here is — like last week — Rex Burkhead will get some more reps.
Offensive tackle Korey Cunningham: Inactive for the third consecutive week. He wasn’t on the injury report this week, so we’ll assume that it’s a personnel question. I’m still not sold on their tackle depth, but they have played pretty well at the position for the first two weeks of the season.
Defensive back Myles Bryant: Another healthy scratch:
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham: A third straight inactive for the young signal-caller. Brian Hoyer will serve as the backup to Cam Newton.
Tight end Dalton Keene: He was on and off the injury report because of a neck issue last week, but he’s going to miss his third straight game to start the season after not being on the injury report this past week.
Outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings: Not on the injury report all week, it appears that the rookie is a healthy scratch.
11:18 a.m.: Trying to stress just how important this game really is for New England: it’s certainly a winnable contest, and in a season where you have a diminished margin for error when compared to past years, a September victory is always an important thing. But the fact the Patriots are starting a rough stretch after this week really underscores the importance of coming out of this game with a W: the next six weeks, New England is at KC, home vs. Denver, bye, home vs. SF, at Buffalo and at the New York Jets. Games against the two teams that were in the Super Bowl last year and a road game against the team that will be their toughest competition in the AFC East. (Not for nothing, but after that, there are games against the Ravens and Texans, a pair of playoff teams that beat them last year.) The very definition of a rough road ahead. Tucking a win away today would provide a nice bounce heading into the toughest stretch of the season.
11:00 a.m.: Welcome to Week 3 of the Patriots’ 2020 season. After splitting the first two games, New England will be angling to start 2-1 when it faces the Raiders.
It might not be as nearly as compelling as some other Patriots-Raiders games over the years, but there’s still an awful lot at stake for both franchises. New England is looking to keep pace with the rest of the AFC leaders. (And come away with a win in a winnable game before the start of a very rough portion of the schedule.) As for the Las Vegas Raiders — that will always be strange — they’re looking to move to 3-0 on the season.
We’ll have all the usual pregame updates — inactive analysis (just after 11:30), weather updates, the latest betting news, and everything you need to know coming out of Foxborough. First? It’s a pregame reading list: