Atlanta Falcons (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 18th 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum - Oakland, CA
by Bob, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL +4.5 / OAK -4.5
Week one of the NFL was a fun one. We had some good finishes, close games, and a few small surprises. One of the best games of the weekend was the Oakland and New Orleans showdown that was not decided til the final seconds and the decision by Oakland coach Jack Del Rio to go for two and win the game in regulation rather than take the easy tie could be one of the ballsiest calls I have ever seen. Is it okay to say ballsiest on this site? I hope so. Anyhow, if you did not see the finish to that game, I am sure NFL Network will be showing it sometime, tune in if you can. With that said, the reason I bring up Oakland is because I have been assigned their game this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons. I have a feeling this game will be good one too. Both teams have talented offenses and both teams seem to enjoy giving up points as well.
Oakland comes into this game as a 4.5 point home favorite over the Falcons and the total points are set at 49 combined.
Oakland is 1-0 overall as well as against the spread with their upset win over the Saints. Although I do not consider it a big upset, these are not the same Saints that we have seen in years past, they are on a decline in talent. The Falcons are opposite...they come in 0-1 and 0-1 after their loss to Tampa in the Georgia Dome. The early action is on Oakland to get the cover. It is not too on sided, 59% like the Raiders and 41% like the Falcons to get back on track.
As an Atlanta resident and fan, I hear a lot of the chatter among the fan base here in the dirty south. Many fans were calling for Matt Ryan's head after last season saying his time is up, we need to move on at the position, etc etc. I have been a Ryan supporter since day one and while I agree last season was pretty bad and two of the Falcons losses could be placed solely on him, there are far more other issues on this team than the QB. Of the 32 NFL teams, I would bet you that 25 of them would take Matt Ryan today over what they are playing with now. Against the Bucs this past Sunday, Matt Ryan threw for 334 yards and two touchdowns with no picks, while being under pressure all day. Ryan did his job. The offensive line for the Falcons has been their weak spot for the past 4-5 seasons and while they are getting better, there is still work to do. This loss to Tampa though, I got to put on the defense. Atlanta has some young players and Dan Quinn is still trying to change the culture and get his guys into place but Atlanta must make stops, especially on third down. Also, pressure the QB! Atlanta has been one of if not the worst in the NFL in sacks for the past three seasons. This must change. The key to this game for Atlanta is defense. This offense will score, the offense is pretty good but the Birds got to get three and outs, got to.
Oakland is coming into their own as a legit contender for the AFC West. Quarterback, Derek Carr is starting to look like he is the guy to get Oakland back on the map. With Carr and his favorite target, Amari Cooper, this offense can get rolling. And that is the key this weekend. We know Atlanta has some issues on defense so Oakland needs to come out firing and get the Raider Nation loud and fired up. If they allow Atlanta to stick around, I still have faith Matt Ryan and Company can find a way not only to cover but win the game. Matt Ryan is one of the top quarterbacks in the league in fourth quarter comebacks since he was drafted. The Raiders do not want to let this happen and lose all the momentum they got after the win in New Orleans.
I hate taking the Falcons, especially lately but I have a good feeling about this one. Historically, Atlanta has played Oakland pretty well. Yeah, these are two totally different teams since the last time they met, but if you are giving me 4.5 against a team who is still truly trying to find themselves...ill take it. I like Atlanta to sneak in and get an ugly 24-23 win over the Raiders.
Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the Atlanta Falcons +4.5
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