This Sunday, the (1-0) Oakland Raiders welcome the (0-1) Atlanta Falcons to the East Bay for their home opener. Let’s take a quick look at the history between these two franchises.
Total Games Between the Raiders and the Falcons: 13
All-Time Record: Raiders lead, 7-6
Current Streak: Falcons, 3 wins in a row
Total Raiders Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 332 (25.5 points per game)
Total Falcons Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 292 (22.4 points per game)
Longest Raiders Winning Streak Against Falcons: 4 (November 30, 1975 – November 20, 1988)
Longest Falcons Winning Streak Against Raiders: 1 (December 12, 2004 – Present)
The Raiders actually hold the all-time lead in this series, but have surrendered the last three to Atlanta, with their last win coming almost 16 years ago, a 41-14 rout in the Coliseum, November of 2000.
The last time these two franchises matched up, the Raiders surprisingly stood toe-to-toe with the undefeated Falcons in the Georgia Dome, largely off the strength of forcing three first-half Matt Ryan interceptions.
Despite hanging tough for the duration of the game, the flat-out lack of talent on the roster would be too much for the Raiders to overcome, and they’d eventually drop a close 23-20 loss to the Falcons and fall to 1-4 on the season.
2012, of course, was a transition year for Oakland — the dawn of a new regime, as Reggie McKenzie took over the reigns of the organization as general manager earlier that winter, tapping Dennis Allen as his first head coaching hire.
After landing in Oakland mid-season the year prior via a totally-uncontroversial, run-of-the-mill trade, quarterback Carson Palmer had the luxury of a full training camp, and….well, that’s about it.
Without much in the way of protection up front, a consistent running game or a mentionable receiving corps, Palmer produced probably as well as any quarterback in that situation would — though he himself wasn’t exactly entirely blameless, developing a knack for serving up the timeliest of pick-sixes with a flair that might make Matt Schaub scoff.
Even still, for some odd reason, I had Oakland as a more-than-game underdog that day…
…who knows. I was drinking a lot of low-end liquor at that point in my life. There’s no telling what sort of mindset I was in.
But enough about the past. This is one of those match-ups that give me that odd, lukewarm, neutral feeling you get when you’re watching a sporting event, but don’t really have a dog in the fight.
Of course, I want the Raiders to win in dominating, soul-crushing, spirit-breaking fashion. But football is so much more fun when you genuinely despise one of the teams playing, or you have friends/co-workers who happen to be fans of the team going up against yours. If that’s the case for you this week, congratulations.
However, if you’re like me, and need a reason to dislike the Falcons in order to truly get amped up for this game (besides it being our home-opener and all), there’s this: they allowed the Broncos the second of back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1998.
Yeah, now I’m ready. Go Raiders.