|09.18.14 at 5:19 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Patriots writer Chris Price previews the Week 3 match-up between the Patriots and Oakland Raiders. Find out the keys to the game as well as Chris’ prediction.
|09.18.14 at 3:45 pm ET|
“I’m still in year eight right now,” Revis said with a laugh after practice on Thursday. ‘I’m a big fan of him. Watched him at Michigan and looked up to him. He’s … hopefully, he’s a future Hall of Famer. The guy has played great ball in the league, and [is] still making plays. Bill [Belichick] put up some plays and he’s still making them, in year 17. I tip my hat off to him. I have much respect for him.”
Revis won’t have to worry too much about Woodson — that’s more for quarterback Tom Brady. Instead, his focus is going to be the Oakland passing game, led by rookie quarterback Derek Carr. On Thursday, the veteran crier talked about the challenges that come with facing a rookie signal-caller for the first time.
‘The material that we have, you just have to rely on that and go from there,” Revis said of Carr. “We’re doing the best we can with game planning against that offense, and we have to stick to the material we have and go from there.
“He’s running their offense. He can throw every route.”
Of course, Revis has been known to bait a young quarterback into a bad throw from time to time. Could that be the case again on Sunday?
“I can’t give you all of that,” he said with a laugh. “Like I said, we’re going to do what we think is best to make sure we’re successful in the game plan. We’re still going through it. We have another day tomorrow to finish up red zone. So far, it’s been going good with the game plan and we just have to go through some more film study and figure out come Sunday where our best matchups are the best game plan on defense.
‘Their receiver corps, they have [Denarius] Moore, who’s very fast. I’ve played against him in the past. Him, you have to watch him at all times on the deep routes. [Rod] Streeter — we don’t know, but we’ll figure that out. Then you’ve got James Jones, the savvy vet. We feel like we give them a lot of respect, their receiving corps. We’re just looking forward to the matchup and covering those guys. Like we said, there’s not a lot of material on Carr. We just have to focus on what we know about Jones, Moore and Streeter.”
In the end, while the Patriots figure to be favored heading into this one, Revis knows this sets up to be a classic trap game.
“I know a lot of guys on that team, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Revis said of Oakland. ‘The Raiders always come to play. We just have to be ready for what they’re going to bring. They’re 0-2 right now, and I’m sure they’re searching for a win coming off 0-2. We know they’ll be ready — we just have to be focused and make sure we don’t let one slip away at home.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|09.18.14 at 3:20 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Pete Morelli will work as the lead referee for Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Raiders, according to our pals at FootballZebras.com.
This will mark Morelli’s first New England game of the season, and his third in the last year-plus. His last Patriots game came when he worked last year’s divisional playoff between New England and Indianapolis at Gillette Stadium. He also worked the Patriots-Texans at Houston on Dec. 1, 2013.
Here’s a look at who has worked as referees for New England’s games to this point in the season:
Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli
|09.18.14 at 12:33 pm ET|
“Woodson really doesn’t look like a 17-year veteran, I’ll tell you that,” Belichick began. “He makes plays all over the field – very aggressive, fast, instinctive, strong tackler, tough. Just couldn’t say enough about how impressed I’ve been watching him on film. The Raiders have real good team speed. They’re a big, physical team. We have a lot to get ready for in terms of their scheme and personnel.
“I think Coach [Dennis] Allen has done a good job there defensively with emphasizing the turnovers. They caused a lot of fumbles last year. I think it was the fourth-most in the league or something like that. They do a good job of turning the ball over.”
Of course, it’s the one turnover that Woodson thought he caused on Jan. 19, 2002 that will haunt him and the Raiders forever. Charles Woodson came on a corner blitz and sacked his former Michigan teammate in the snow of old Foxboro Stadium. Woodson stripped the ball from Tom Brady and Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert recovered. With 1:43 left in the fourth and the Raiders leading, 13-10, in the AFC divisional playoff game, all hope appeared lost for the Patriots.
Brady and Woodson were best of friends at the University of Michigan. They were separated by just two locker stalls. Brady even threw to Woodson a little while the two were with the Wolverines. This Sunday will mark the sixth time the two have met in the NFL but Brady says the two have never discussed the way their first encounter ended.
“I don’t think we’ve ever talked about that, but I remember it very well, and I’m sure he does, too,” Brady said Wednesday. “He was making plays back then, and he’s still making plays the same way. He’s got long arms, a really strong tackler. He’s been a ball hawk his entire career.”
|09.18.14 at 12:32 pm ET|
While every other blogger pretends to know what’s going on in the NFL, I am going in the exact opposite direction.
That piping-hot sports take might not do much for my credibility, but isn’t the honesty refreshing? The Internets is full of people desperate to prove that they are smarter than everyone else, but not me, I am proud of my mediocrity. I learned that lesson a long time ago from a close friend of mine. No NFL insider, let alone blogger, could have predicted that the Seahawks would lose to the Chargers or that the Saints would open the season 0-2. Instead of droning on about the elite-ness of Richard Sherman, or the struggles of the Saints pass rush, I am going to chalk up those anomalies to the fact that the NFL, especially early in the season, makes zero sense. Thus my picks will not be based on trends, facts or stats, rather the classic combination of Miller High Life and braggadocio. The title of this weekly blog really should be ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ Because in the end, everything is made up and the points don’t matter. With that being said, onto the picks.
Chargers +2.5 at Bills
The Bills may have won their first two games, but they are still the Bills. I have watched the Bills suck for too long to be impressed by a two-game winning streak. The last time the Bills made the playoffs I was 9 years old and the Music City Miracle only struck me as mildly hilarious. At that age, I didn’t have the wherewithal to properly appreciate how typically Bills-ian that loss was. But with maturity and experience, I’ve come to the obvious realization that the Bills will never be good. This year will be no different. Also, as a card-carrying member of the #FreeRivers fan club, you better believe I am picking the Chargers. Plus, this gives me the excuse to play this all day Sunday.
Pick: Chargers +2.5
Ravens -1.5 at Browns
I really hate the phrase ‘God hates Cleveland,’ because it implies that God actually cares about the sports future of the 45th-largest city in the United States. The suggestion that a divine power was some how responsible for The Drive, The Fumble or Jose Mesa is patently absurd. So no, God doesn’t hate Cleveland, but I sure do. Cleveland has nothing going for it and is easily the worst of the Rust Belt cities. It is just as crime-ridden and plagued by deindustrialization as Detroit, yet has none of the charm. When Drew Carey and James A. Garfield are your most notable residents, you know you are dealing with a bunk city. Heck even Gary, Indiana, produced the Jackson 5.
As for actual football reasons to pick against the Browns: The Ravens have a good run defense, are 22-8 all-time against Cleveland, and have wily vet and pass-catching machine Steve Smith Sr. Don’t be surprised if this game is won by a Justin Tucker field goal in the final moments.
Pick: Ravens -1.5
I really have no idea what is going to happen in this game. I can’t even rely on irrational hatred because I don’t like either of these teams. You may ask then, Sam, if you have no insight, why pick this game? Because it’s the most interesting game of the week and I might as well have a rooting interest. For the Broncos, this game is an opportunity for revenge after last year’s Super Bowl embarrassment. For the Seahawks, it’s the opportunity to re-establish themselves as the league’s best team. Now, I don’t like the fact that the most valuable member of the Seahawks always will be the architect who designed CenturyLink Field to be a cacophonous false-start-producing sound dungeon. That has never sat well with me. But I have to take Seattle’s home-field advantage into consideration. Also, throughout last week, the ‘Nothing beats that new car smell’ line from Peyton Manning‘s new Nationwide ad was stuck in my head. To borrow a line from Drew Magary and a tune from Nationwide: ‘Peyton is a haughty douche.’
Pick: Seahawks -5
|09.18.14 at 12:13 pm ET|
According to reports, the Patriots had perfect attendance at practice Thursday, as linebacker Jerod Mayo and safety Don Jones both returned after not practice on Wednesday. It appears Mayo was absent on Wednesday because of the birth of his child.
Meanwhile, Jones was dealing with a hamstring injury.
The Patriots continue preparation for their home opener this weekend against the Raiders.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|09.18.14 at 11:40 am ET|
If Derek Carr is able to lead the Raiders to an upset win over the Patriots on Sunday in Foxboro, he would break new ground for rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick. Since 2001, no rookie QB in his first or second start against the Patriots has beaten Belichick in New England.
In that span, Belichick has faced rookie quarterbacks on 19 occasions, and New England is 14-5 against them. However, none of those losses have come at home. Last year, Geno Smith turned the trick at MetLife Stadium when he led the Jets past the Patriots in overtime. In 2012, Russell Wilson did the same in a home game for the Seahawks. Colt McCoy shocked the Patriots in a Browns blowout in 2010 in his first time against New England. In 2009, Jets QB Mark Sanchez knocked off the Patriots in his first-ever game against Belichick in the Meadowlands. And in his first year in the league, Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers past the Patriots. All of those games were away from Foxboro.
Belichick said this week he’s been impressed with several aspects of Carr’s game, and as a team that was interested in taking a quarterback in the early stages of the 2014 draft — Carr went 36th overall to the Raiders, while New England chose Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 62 — the Patriots were able to get what Belichick called a “good look” at Carr. The coach was impressed by the Fresno State product.
“His athleticism, [as well as his] arm strength, Belichick said. “[His] ability to get the ball down the field and avoid negative plays in the pocket with his athleticism, mobility and some running ability, too, are all things that we saw in college that I’d say are showing up this year in the NFL as well.
“He’s only been sacked a couple of times,” Belichick added of the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder who has completed 47-for-74 passes for 414 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while adding 55 rushing yards. “He’s an athletic guy back there. He can certainly get the ball down the field. We know he’s a smart kid. I think all the things that we saw from him at Fresno and when he’s had an opportunity to do them in this league have continued to show up. Obviously the systems are different, but from a skill standpoint I think his skills are his skills and they’re pretty good.”
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