Oakland Raiders v. Atlanta Falcons Preview: Week 6
The Atlanta Falcons tremendous start to the 2012 season has been no surprise to the NFL. Their high powered offensive attack has literally blown away opposing defenses. Starting quarterback Matt Ryan attributes much of this success to the flashy weaponry at his disposal as Roddy White and Julio Jones boasts a deadly wide receiving tandem along with the ageless wonder tight end Tony Gonzalez whose 39 catches are tops in the league.
Throughout the course of Matt Ryan’s career Atlanta has had very little trouble winning in the regular season. His consistency at quarterback has been truly remarkable, all but solidifying himself as an elite player in the NFL. However, he has turned out miserable performances in his three playoff games with the Falcons (all losses). These particular games have defined Ryan’s career, holding him back from joining the league's elites in the eyes of fans. For him nothing would be more pleasurable than to erase those memories with a deep playoff run this year.
The Falcons undefeated season hangs in the balance this Sunday when they play host to the lowly Oakland Raiders in the Georgia Dome. On paper the 5-0 Falcons (2nd in the power rankings) have a huge advantage over the 1-3 Oakland Raiders (30th in the power rankings). Many have coined this matchup as a sure win for the home team but I may be a little skeptical. The Raiders look to bounce back after resting during the bye week; meanwhile the Falcons are desperate for a breather. This should level the playing field a bit and I anticipate a heavy dose of offense on both sides of the ball.
In order for Oakland to pull off the upset they will need to establish a running game early. The last thing they want is to fall behind and allow Carson Palmer to air it out 40 times. For that to happen, running back Darren McFadden will need to have a much needed breakout performance. Atlanta has been weak against the run so chances are he can and will.
On the other hand Oakland’s defense has been incredibly lousy, giving up 31 points per game and 411 total yards of total offense to opponents. The defensive unit will need to improve drastically against the Falcons if they want to keep this game within reach. Head Coach Dennis Allen likely spent the bye week addressing these concerns with players and personnel in hopes they could reach a common ground before it’s too late.
The over/under for this game is set at 48.5 so expect fireworks in the Georgia Dome this Sunday. The Atlanta Falcons take home the victory over the Oakland Raiders in high scoring affair fans will enjoy. Atlanta covers the -9 spread by a slight margin.
Prediction: Atlanta 31, Oakland 21
Questionable- DT Richard Seymour(knee), DT Tommy Kelly(foot), K Sebastion Janikowski(groin)
Out- OT Khalif Barnes(groin), CB Shawntae Spencer(foot)
Questionable- DT Jonathan Babineaux, LB Stephen Nicholas