After hosting the first regular-season NFL game ever in the city of Las Vegas, the Raiders are scheduled to visit the New England Patriots in Week 3 of the 2020 NFL season.
Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders likely were hopeful about their chances in Foxboro, given that all signs pointed to untested quarterback Jarrett Stidham being the Patriots' starter this year after Tom Brady departed this offseason for Tampa Bay.
But New England perhaps has found Brady's replacement, as they reached an agreement with former NFL MVP Cam Newton on a one-year deal Sunday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.
Newton confirmed the news with this Instagram post.
Cam Newton confirms he's going to the Patriots on his IG story. pic.twitter.com/3kDOd1gDVd— Ali Thanawalla (@Ali_Thanawalla) June 29, 2020
Newton comes to the Patriots after playing just two games in 2019 following offseason shoulder surgery. Newton also missed the final two games of the 2018 season due to that shoulder trouble.
The Carolina Panthers briefly explored a trade for Newton before ultimately releasing him in late March.
No matter who is at quarterback for the Patriots, Derek Carr and the Raiders offense still will be taking on one of the NFL's best defenses. New England had the best scoring defense and surrendered the fewest total yards of any NFL team in 2019. The Patriots did lose some key players like Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins in free agency, but Stephon Gilmore arguably was the NFL's best defensive back last year and Patriots coach Bill Belichick always seems to find value in players other teams simply can't.
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The Raiders definitely improved over the offseason, fortifying the defense with some key free agents at linebacker (Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski) and bringing in three dynamic wide receivers through the 2020 draft, all of whom bring a unique skill set to the position.
Although Las Vegas likely wouldn't have been favored in the game regardless, Newton's presence almost assures that the odds will be stacked against the Raiders when Week 3 rolls around in a few months.
We'll see whether Gruden and the Raiders can play their cards right in Foxboro and steal a win.
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