Oakland Raiders(1-3SU,1-3ATS) vs.Atlanta Falcons(5-0SU, 4-1ATS)
Date/Time:October14th, 1:00PM EST
Where:Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
byJeffHochman,Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: Oak+9.5/ATL -9.5
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With two weeks to prepare, the Oakland Raiders will try to take down the undefeatedDirty Birds in Atlanta. Oakland’s last game was a loss on 9/30/12, losing at Denver by a score of 37-6 as 6.5-point road dogs. Peyton Manning was able to pick apart the Raiders secondary at will, passing for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Carson Palmer was just 19-of-34 for 202 yards. The running game was missing in action as the Broncos held Oakland to just 56 yards. Oakland was out-gained by a whopping 266 yards and have won the stats justonce this season. The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Redskins 24-17 as 3-point road chalk. They out-gained the Redskins by 105 yards and improved to 3-2 ITS (in the stats) this season. Matt Ryan has been nothing short ofspectacularand he had another big game. Ryan passed for 345 yards and two touchdowns. His QBR is now 107.6 on the season. On the flip side, Carson Palmer has a QB rating of 75.5.
The Falcons offense ranks No. 7 in passing yards while the Raiders will bring in their 28th-ranked pass defense. Oakland has allowed allopposing QB’sto pass for season high yards. Matt Ryan should have no problem finding Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez all day longin Oakland’s man-to-man or zone schemes. White ranks No. 1 on the team in passing yards (481),No. 2inreceptions(31), and touchdowns (3). Atlanta isaveraging 29.6 points per game while the Raiders have surrendered more points in their first four games than any other year. Having a week off will negate thepacific time zone Raidersplaying an early Eastern time zone game.
What the Raiders will need to do is feed the ballto Darren McFadden and try to shorten the game. It has not been pretty for McFadden so far this season, as he has rushed for more than 35 yards just one time. It’s not all his fault as the Raidersoffensiveline has been shaky at best. The Falcons boast one of the best offensive lines, and Michael Turner must be licking his chops going against a run defense that allows 128.5 yards per game. The Falconsactually are worse against the run allowing teams to rush for 142 yards per game. If McFadden has a breakout game itcould be this one. Atlanta is ranked 3rd indefending the pass (203), so if the Raiders are smart they will run, run, and than run some more. But, if they fall behind early most likely the Raiders willabandonedthe run and try to pass. That would be a mistake inside that loud dome.
Good teams find ways to win and that’s what Atlanta does. The Falcons needed a last secondFGto defeat Carolina on 9/30/12, and than had toscorethe final 10 points in the win over the Redskins. Atlanta seems to playing with a lot of confidence than in year’s past. I guess the fast start has something to do with that. The Raiders new defense that features multiple fronts, coverages and blitz packages, have allowed opposingQB’sto pass for 71.5% of their passes. Talk about yourstrength vs. weakness in this game. The Falcons pass offense vs. the Raiders pass defense iscertainlythe match-up to focus on. On defense, the Raiders haverecordedjust 3 sacks and have forced three turnovers. The secondary is getting healthy, so maybe they will start playing better. Hard to imagine it will be in this game though.
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These two teams don’t play each other that often. Just eight times since 1985. The last meeting was back in November of 2008. The Falcons won 24-0 as 3-point road chalk. The Raiders secondary was much better back than as Matt Ryan threw for 220 yards and two scores. Guess who the QB was for Oakland? None other thanJaMarcusRussell, who finished the game 6-of-19 for 31 yards passing and one INT.
The Raiders are 8-10 SU and 7-11 ATS after their BYE week since 1993. The Falcons are 15-0 SU and 11-3 ATS when facing a team with a losing record over the last three seasons. Matt Ryan is21-10ATS when playing at home in his career.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Spread:Pass
Don’t like the game but if I had to pick a side it would be a small lean to the underdog.
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