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Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Kicking Off

The Patriots host the Raiders tonight in the NFL's season opener. While New England raises another championship banner, Oakland is trying to rebound from a slide that began after their loss in Super Bowl XXXVII. Since then, their offense has struggled while their defense has fallen over a cliff:

NFL Offense Defense
Rank Yards Pts Yards Pts
2002 2 2 12 2
2003 25 27 30 25
2004 20 18 30 31
Source: Pro Football Reference

Even worse, the Raiders defense was last in the NFL in third down conversions allowed - a whopping 47.4 percent. They've converted to a 4-3 this year, but they are still aging up front with Warren Sapp, Ted Washington, and Bobby Hamilton expected to play major roles.

The hiring of Norv Turner improved the offense a bit last year, but I'm still not sold on Kerry Collins. With Randy Moss joining Jerry Porter, Collins certainly has enough weapons in the passing game. Their other big free agent acquisition, LaMont Jordan, is a question mark at running back because he's never been a featured back. But he'll have a pretty solid line in front of him, and could be poised for a big season.

It should be a fun night in Foxboro.

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