Wednesday, September 28, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders (Week 4, 2011-12)

The Oakland Raiders surprised many AFC East fans after they beat the previously undefeated New York Jets. The New England Patriots blew a 21-point lead and lost to the Buffalo Bills. Will Tom Brady allow this to happen for a second consecutive week?

The early spread on this game is Patriots (-4). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from as of September 28, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.

#0: Current Record (Straights Only)
Oakland Raiders 2-1
New England Patriots 2-1

#1: Injuries
The Raiders will have a difficult enough time trying to stop Tom Brady. S Michael Huff, CB Chris Johnson, S Mike Mitchell and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke are all attending to injuries and may miss this game. WR Jacoby Ford and LB Quentin Groves are also questionable for Week 4.

The Patriots are in the same boat with defensive injuries. S Patrick Chung, DL Albert Haynesworth and DL Mike Wright could all miss this game. Always check the injury report with this team because Belichick likes to keep his injuries a secret.

#2: Traveling
This will be the Patriots third road game in four contests. They’ve previously traveled to Miami and Buffalo.

#3: Darren McFadden vs. Patriots’ Defense
Has Darren McFadden become the NFL’s best running back? The Raiders are currently averaging 185 yards per game on the ground. McFadden had a breakthrough performance against a stingy New York Jets’ rushing defense that normally ranks atop the NFL. McFadden had 19 carries for 171 yards and a 70-yard scamper with two touchdowns.

That’s not good for a Patriots’ defense that has given up at least 21 points in each of their first three games. The Patriots are surrendering nearly 470 yards per game defensively. That includes Chad Henne’s performance of over 400 yards passing. They have the NFL’s worst defense and it’s not even close right now.

#4: Tom Brady
The Patriots rarely lose back-to-back games. They’ve only done that twice since November 2006. Both of those instances occurred in 2009 behind what may have been Bill Belichick’s worst Patriots’ team of the 2000s. The Patriots lost back-to-back games to the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins from Week 12 to Week 13. They also lost back-to-back games against the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 and wildcard weekend.

The Buffalo Bills ended their 15-game losing streak in Week 3. Can the Raiders buck another trend?

Final Predictions:
The Bills needed four interceptions from Tom Brady to even have a chance in that game. I really can’t see that happening again. The other thing is that I’m still iffy on that passing game. Can Jason Campbell keep them in it with a shootout? Are the Patriots really going to fall to 2-2 and two games behind the Bills in the AFC East?

The Patriots were upset by Eric Mangini’s Cleveland Browns in 2010, 34-14. The Patriots responded with an eight-game winning streak that started with a 39-26 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field. They’ve also beaten better San Diego Chargers’ teams than this Raiders’ team. I’m going to battle with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders (+4)
Straight:  New England Patriots 35, Oakland Raiders 31

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