The Patriots and Raiders are getting set to hit Mexico City for their showdown on Sunday, and ESPN.com takes a look back to the NFL's first foray south of the border and things didn't go all that well for the league. The Patriots are obviously far more concerned with modern-day events, however, and their focus is solely on the Raiders.
In Mexico, it's been how 'bout those Patriots.
After Mike Gillislee's surprise deactivation last week in Denver, ESPN.com says Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead have decisively taken over the lead back duties. Alan Branch had an interesting choice of words when asked about the prospect of taking on Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.
The Boston Globe notes the NFL's new softening of the celebration rules but so far the Patriots haven't taken part. Stephon Gilmore is starting to make some progress in the Patriots secondary. David Andrews missed practice on Thursday due to an illness.
The Boston Herald highlights a run of late-half scores for the Patriots offense, which have demoralized opponents lately. The Providence Journal believes the added depth at tight end has more value due to the injury to Chris Hogan. MassLive.com has one analyst predicting a huge game for Brandin Cooks in Mexico. NBC Sports Boston explains why Burkhead's big night in Denver was no fluke. They also explain how the extra attention to special teams in paying off. NESN.com has Devin McCourty explaining why the Patriots typically play their best football late in the season. WEEI.com believes this is the best group of running back Bill Belichick has had as coach of the Patriots.
Out in Oakland, the Raiders explain why the respect but do not fear the Patriots defense. The San Jose Mercury News understands that Tom Brady going against the Raiders defense is a mismatch. The big question in the Bay Area is, can Derek Carr be elite and lead the Raiders back into the playoffs.