The PHK series continues, previewing the Week 2 matchup between the Oakland Raiders vs. the Atlanta Falcons.
The Raiders got their first opening game win since 2011 with a gutty, come-from-behind 35-34 victory in New Orleans over the Saints last Sunday.
It didn’t come without a price. Starting right tackle Menelik Watson and his backup, Matt McCants — Austin Howard was inactive with an injury of his own — went down in the game, forcing a line shuffle in the third quarter that was ultimately a blessing in disguise.
The rest of the line didn’t escape unscathed. Center Rodney Hudson and RG Gabe Jackson missed Wednesday’s practice with knee injuries, but were both back in limited capacity on Thursday. As of this writing, the Raiders hadn’t released news from their Friday practice.
A lot went right on offense in New Orleans. Derek Carr continued his ascension up the ranks of the QB ladder with a near-flawless performance. He led an icy-veined final drive that culminated in a gutsy — but not risky, as the team repeatedly mentioned — two-point conversion throw to Michael Crabtree that was as perfect as perfect gets.
Carr has now led five game-winning drives in the past 17 games and showed, at least Sunday, that his decision-making in the clutch has improved and he can be trusted.
A lot did not go right on defense. That can likely be somewhat attributed to Sean Payton and Drew Brees (not to mention Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks). But there are definitely some concerns and some players with their feet in the fire.
In all, Brees went off for 423 yards and 4 TD’s and generally made the Raiders secondary look pedestrian, despite all the off-season accolades as the team’s most improved unit and the key to a potentially special defense, complimenting a ferocious (on paper) pass rush.
Atlanta boasts a quick-strike offense with playmakers Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. Tevin Coleman and Mohamed Sanu both showed their skills and value against Tampa last weekend. The Raiders offense can definitely put up points, but can their defense stop Matt Ryan and company?
Welcome to 2016’s second edition of pressures, hurries, and knockdowns. Let’s get right to the pressure cooker, shall we?
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