Game Thoughts and Prediction – Atlanta @ Oakland

When last season ended, the Raiders and Falcons had something in common. Both teams were considered NFL bottom feeders, having just completed 4-12 seasons. Still reeling from the Michael Vick saga, the Falcons were thought to be years away from relevance. But, in the league that encourages absolute parity, things can change quickly.

Led by rookie QB Matt Ryan, the Falcons have shocked the NFL by starting 4-3. They’re still a long shot to make the playoffs (mainly due to being in the wrong division), but there is renewed hope. Atlanta has an impressive (albeit young) offense. As mentioned, Matt Ryan is the leader at QB. Michael Turner, one of the leagues’ most talented backs, powers a fantastic running game. They’re averaging an eye-popping 4.8 yards per carry. The receiving corps isn’t the best in the league, but Roddy White is a standout. He already has 43 catches (along with 5 TD’s). By comparison, the Raiders top receiver is Zach Miller with 20 catches (and 1 TD). All in all, the Falcons are a balanced, rapidly improving offense.

It’s a different story on defense. They rank in the bottom 3rd of the league in yards allowed (pass and run defense are equally bad). But, there’s no advantage for the Raiders, as Oakland is actually ranked slightly lower than Atlanta (only by 1 yard per game). The Falcons D only gives up 22 points per game.  This is noteworthy because the Raiders give up 3.3 more points per game, despite giving up essentially the same yardage.

We know all the ills of our Raiders. On offense, the passing game continues to lack punch. The yardage totals are skewed as the bigger totals have come in blowouts (example, last week’s 228 yards in a 19-point loss at Baltimore). The running game hasn’t been healthy all year. The defense can’t stop the run, so the pass D suffers because they’re always in man-to-man coverage. Times are rough when the kicking game is the team’s highlight.

Despite what appears to be imbalance between the teams, this weekend’s game should be a good one. The Raiders seem to find an extra level at home.  Atlanta’s lack of a second receiver strongly benefits the Raiders, as Nnamdi Asomugha will slow Roddy White. If the Raiders can keep the Falcon running game somewhat in check, they can spring the upset.  

My prediction – Raiders 24, Falcons 21.

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  • http://BloggingDirty.com The Dirty Bird

    Nice post. I liked everything you said except that score prediction…. of course. 
                                               ; )

  • The Crowe

    21-0 already…doesn’t appear I was even close. 

  • slim81

    I am a die hard raiders fan but until they get rid of that p.o.s   d. hall and /or change owner or the mentality they will never be nothing again

  • slim81

    its pathetic

  • onenation60

    This is oh so sad. At what point are the Raiders going to make Jamarcus Russell accountable for being useless.  This is the #1 draft choice who missed the entire preseason prep time holding out for money.
    Okay, he got his money now stop playing like a 12 year old girl!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s time for Russell to start playing like he’s in the NFL. He’s had almost 2 seasons to prove why his holding out for more money was worth the Raiders paying him.
    Both today & last week he’s played against to geniune rookies & he looks just plain sorry in comparison!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean they haven’t had the priviledge of sitting on the sideline getting paid big bucks just to suit up in a Raider uniform.
    Can we have a do-over & make Brady Quinn our #1 draft pick?

  • Danny

    Any prediction with THE CAROLINA PANTHER NEXT WEEK !!! ??

  • The Crowe

    Carolina probably wins by 30.

  • The Crowe

    Onenation60,

    Some good points. Al Davis is responsible for these picks and free agents, yet he’s not forcing them to be accountable for how bad they play. DeAngelo Hall is the biggest offender. He has no business being on the field. Russell is awful, but he really doesn’t have anyone to throw to. Javon Walker is a bust. The offensive line is mediocre again. The whole organization needs to be imploded. 

  • RaiderJoe76

    Come on, now. We’re better than this. Resorting to piling on the QB. Comapring Russell’s situation with that fo Flacco and Matt Ryan isn’t really fair. Both of those guys have much more help than does Russell on the OL and as far WR’s as well. All Russell really has is McFadden and Miller. I think He’ll be fine if they get him some help and protection. The issue is that we have a bunch of players that aren’t doing what they are being paid to do and that is play football. What ever the hell is going on upstairs doesn’t change what you as a layer are being paid to do. Play like hell on Sunday. Not happening.

  • The Crowe

    RaiderJoe,

    Completely agree that it’s up to the players to show up and perform as expected. With that said, Javon Walker, DeAngelo Hall, Michael Huff, Robert Gallery, etc get paid like they’re stars. They either have to perform at that level or we need to force team management to be held accountable. If you look at the design of this team, it’s been put together to win right away. I believe they should be ahead of the Atlantas of the league. 

  • onenation60

    The Crowe,
    Have you seen Russell? What’s does it matter if you can throw the football from one end of the field to the next if you over throw, under throw or just throw it away.  Did you see Quinn on Thursday night?  Yes the Browns lost the game, but it wasn’t the QB’s fault yet he took the blame for the loss.  Can’t you just picture him in Oakland, well maybe you shouldn’t because Cleveland’s not letting him go anywhere.
    The commentators for last Sunday’s game even reported The Cable guy saying Russell has a tendency to over think plays & when he over thinks the play he freezes up. Again I ask, why is he playing for my Oakland Raiders?
    I do agree that a team overhaul is long overdue. Take Warren Sapp, when he said he was a Buccaneer in a Raider uniform, I said he should start faxing his resume, but the organization kept him & he collected check after check until he retired & now he has the audacity to say on the NFL Network that when guys call him asking about Oakland, he tells them to stay away. Why didn’t he take his own advice & stay away instead of check collecting? And they call him a future Hall of Famer? If there is any justice left in this world, his bust will not see the inside of the HOF before Ken Stabler.
    All current Raiders with a “Committment to Excellence” please form a line behind Justin Fargas & let’s show what the Raider Nation is all about…ONE NATION….RAIDER NATION

  • The Crowe

    Onenation,

    Some very good points. There are some major differences between Quinn and Russell. Brady has a solid offensive line and some good receivers to throw to. Russell has neither. Also, don’t overestimate the Broncos. They’re playing with 5th string linebackers and missing Champ Bailey. That makes any QB look good. They made Matt Cassel look like Brady.

    Russell has a long way to go before becoming a good QB. But, he’s still a rookie (playing so little last year hurt him badly). I think it’s far too early to throw in the towel. We need to be a little patient. Not 5 years patient, but a little patient. 

    Plus, do we really have confidence in any part of the team right now? Cable benches Curry, his best receiver. Russell is essentially left with only Miller to throw to. Javon Walker hasn’t shown us anything. He either no longer has the talent or he’s just collecting checks. Fargas’ gives his all (as you mentioned), but he can’t block or catch every pass. 

    My point is that I’m not ready to completely blame the rookie QB. He’s one of many, many offenders. Players, coaches, and Awful Al. He built this mess. He’d be where I started when I realized it’s time to blow it up. Get a GM, try sticking with a coach, then our Raiders might have a fighting chance.

  • onenation60

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! The headlines should read Raider Nation in a Blissful State of Shock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I saw it, I pressed replay & saw it again….Thanks to my DVR I watched the whole game again…Matter of fact I think I might have to save this one til after Christmas…I love it, I love it and I love it even more, we beat Denver in Denver….Did anyone call 911 for Shanahan? I know how he relishes beating the Raiders every chance he gets and yet today I kinda feel like pay back from last year when we won & then lost the game in Denver…This is truly a beautiful day in the neighborhood….Okay, someone needs to call 911 for me, I think I’m blacking out again….Nope that was just my Raider banner falling over my eyes…As we say down here in Texas, YeeeeeeeeeeeeeHaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh

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