FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Raiders stagger into the NFL’s most difficult home venue Sunday in need of perhaps the biggest upset in franchise history.

Oddsmakers think so, installing the New England Patriots, 1-1, as 14-point favorites in their home opener at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots have won 11 of their last 12 home openers, and 49 of the last 52 home games with Tom Brady at quarterback.

The Raiders, 0-2, counter with rookie starting quarterback Derek Carr, two bitterly disappointing efforts to start the regular-season, a head coach who may be a week away from an unfavorable job review and a string of 14 consecutive losses in the Eastern time zone.

“It’s time for us to do it,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “Talk is cheap. We need to make improvement, and we need to make improvement fast.”

Since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, the Patriots at home are 92-18 including the postseason, an .836 winning percentage and well ahead of second-place Baltimore (76-26, .745).

Coach Bill Belichick’s explanation?

“Good players,” Belichick said. “Winning games in this league is all about having good players. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of them. Players win games.”

The Raiders entered the season believing they had players capable of competing with the NFL’s elite teams, only to be thoroughly outplayed by the Jets in Week 1 and dominated by the Houston Texans at Coliseum in Week 2.


Carr, who beat out presumptive starter Matt Schaub, has made rookie mistakes but the biggest issues have been with a supporting cast that has yet to mesh. In a conference call with Bay Area media, Belichick made note of names such as Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Donald Penn, Tarrel Brown, Carlos Rogers and James Jones as solid veteran acquisitions.

For whatever reason, those players have yet to form a cohesive unit. The defense …read more