Greetings, Raider fans! It is I, RaiderDamus, rejuvenated from the bye week and ready to bring you tidings of the future straight from the Great Beyond, who foresaw the Raiders lose to Denver two weeks ago. The Great Beyond is equally trepidatious about this week's game.
There are three things certain in life: death, taxes, and the Raiders losing on the East Coast. Two of these things are explainable, the third is not. There is no logical reason the Raiders should utterly lose the ability to play football (it is, after all, their ACTUAL JOB) when they travel to the Eastern time zone. Other teams can go east and win. Why, the Niners did it twice in the last two weeks, outscoring their hapless opponents by a combined score of 79-3, if I recall correctly. The Raiders, on the other hand, have not won a game in the Eastern time zone since 2009, the Bruce Gradkowski beating the Steelers game. That's three solid years, folks. We could ask why, but there is no logical reason for it. There is no point in us asking why. That is the job of the coaching staff.
So let us simply take this game on its merits alone. The Falcons are undefeated, clearly in the top echelon of teams in the NFL. They have, statistically, the second best passing game in football, led by young quarterback Matt Ryan and stud receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. They also have a guy who loves beating the Raiders, future Hall of Famer and former K.C. Chef Tony Gonzalez. That's a lot of firepower to overcome, for a team that couldn't stop Peyton Manning and his crappy receivers in the last game.
The good news is that the Atlanta defense isn't very good. They hold opponents to 203 pass yards per game, but allow almost 130 rush yards. Their rush defense is awful. So, if the Raiders want to win they will have to slow the pace and play a grinding, ball-control style. No slinging the ball all over the field. Darrius Heyward-Bey is back this week but it's best to ignore him for the most part. We need McFadden to have 30 carries at least. Supposedly Dennis Allen has made some 'tweaks' to the rush game. Considering there has been exactly one good rushing play so far this year, I hope the 'tweaks' include 'discarding the entire rushing gameplan and making a new one that works'. If the Raiders are ever going to run the football, it's going to be this week against the Falcons.
But the reality is the Raiders are just not healthy enough on defense to hang with the Falcons. Huff at corner is a joke, and the team sorely misses the play of Aaron Curry. This team has no pass rush and no coverage skills to speak of. Matt Ryan is going to shred them. The Falcons almost never lose at home. My only real concern is seeing immprovement in the running game. if I see that, there is hope for the future.
Falcons win, 38-16.