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Mayo, who played collegiately at Tennessee, recalls facing McFadden twice during his tenure as a Volunteer and stressed the importance of bringing him down.

“Just everybody to the football,” he said of limiting McFadden’s home-run ability. “We want the backside corner to the ball, we want everyone there. It’s all about rallying to the football when a guy like McFadden has the ball. Like I said, he poses a great threat every time he touches the ball.”

The Patriots have allowed a league-high 23 passing plays of 20 yards or more, and the defense is well aware that the Raiders may try and exploit that.

“Big plays have been killing us and that’s one of the main priorities in practice this week,” Mayo said, “stopping the big play and getting off the field.”

A stronger pass rush from the Patriots‘ veteran defensive line would go a long way toward aiding that effort.

“I know people have mentioned that we have to get to the quarterback, and that’s something that we do take pride in,” Carter said. “As far as just from a technical standpoint, every standpoint, we’re almost there. We just have to get there quicker.

“It’s as close as it can be. But like I said, you always get constantly closer.”

Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell may opt to air it out more than usual this week with New England safety Patrick Chung possibly sidelined for a second straight game after undergoing surgery on his injured right thumb.

Chung, who practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, said on Thursday he felt good, yet wasn’t in the position to declare himself active for Sunday.

“That’s coach’s decision, trainers’ decision. I don’t make those decisions. I’m just going to make sure I’m ready to go,” said Chung, sporting a cast. “Hurt, injured, you have to always prepare mentally, physically, whatever you have to do to make sure that you know what you’re doing so if coach needs you to go in there, you’re ready.”

If Chung does see any action in Oakland, he’s prepared for McFadden to burst into the secondary at any moment.

“He’s fast, he has a good stiff arm, he’s strong, he breaks tackles, he’s a good running back,” he said. “He can take it the distance. I’ve seen him run 80-yard runs like nothing.

“He’s definitely fast, he’s explosive, he’s a good player.”