Raiders' McFadden Concerns Pats

When the NFL schedule came out in the spring, most people reflexively penciled the Patriots in for a win against the Raiders in Week 4. This is what happens when two organizations spend the decade going in different directions.

But Oakland appears to finally have found a method to its madness. Owner Al Davis loves speed and has stocked the roster with some of the fastest guys in the league. And it appears he's finally found the right mix speed and talent because the Raiders are 2-1 and fresh off beating up on the Jets.

And that's reason enough to not take Oakland lightly. Even more worrisome for the Pats: the Raiders aren't just about throwing deep passes to their lightning fast wideouts; they prefer to run the ball to set up the pass. New England's defense has been its Achilles heel through three weeks, and the run defense is particularly problematic. Which is why stopping the Raiders' Darren McFadden, who rushed for 171 yards (including a 70-yarder) and scored two touchdowns against the Jets, will be key to any success the Pats hope to have.

"He’s a big guy and he’s fast," said linebacker Jerod Mayo, according to "[He] has a great stiff arm and he can catch the ball out of the backfield -- very explosive player. I have a little bit of a history with him. Good player and it will be a challenge for us."

The two faced off in college when Mayo was at Tennessee and McFadden was at Arkansas (along with Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis).

"McFadden is a great guy with the ball in hands," linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "Tackling him will be an issue. We’ve been practicing that as well. Hopefully we can do good this week."

Head coach Bill Belichick, as always, was both laconic and obvious in his mid-week remarks. “They definitely like to run the ball. They have good backs (and) a good offensive line,” Belichick said. “They emphasize it a lot – you can see they’re pretty good at it. Those backs are really special. … They’re certainly a very good running team. One of the best that we’ll face.”

But just how good are the Raiders? Well, according to, Oakland's offense ranks third, and they're No. 1 in the running game. And the Pats' D? They're 30th overall (ahead of just the Dolphins and the Rams) and 26th against the run.

It's hard to believe but there's a decent chance the Patriots could head into Week 5 and be 2-2 with the two losses coming to the Bills and the Raiders.

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