Atlanta Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders Preview
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland
When: Sunday, September 18, 4:25 PM ET
TV Broadcast: CBS
Writer’s Pick: Oakland Raiders (-4.5)
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Betting on the Atlanta Falcons (+4.5)
The Atlanta Falcons’ free fall continues. After ending last season on a 3-8 slide, the Falcons lost their opening game of the season, 31-24, at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Matt Ryan completed 27-of-39 passes (69 percent) for 334 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Running back Tevin Coleman led the way with 95 receiving yards on five catches, while free agent signing Mohamed Sanu had 80 receiving yards and a touchdown. As Drew Brees and the Saints showed with their 423 passing yards and 34 points, you can still pass on this Raiders defense.
However, Julio Jones (four catches, 66 yards, 1 TD) had a relatively silent night and looked to be slowed by an ankle injury which he suffered back in preseason. It’s hard to see the Falcons producing enough offensively to get the win on the road if their No. 1 receiver is not 100 percent.
The Falcons went just 1-4 ATS in their last five road games last season.
Betting on the Oakland Raiders (-4.5)
The Raiders showed a lot of resiliency in their Week 1 matchup in New Orleans. They came back from 11 points down heading into the fourth quarter and pulled off a gutsy two-point conversion in the final minute to claim a huge 35-34 road win over the Saints. Derek Carr had 319 yards and Amari Cooper had a career-high 137 receiving yards, while the running game came through with 167 rushing yards and three touchdowns to lead the Raiders.
While the Oakland offense looks pretty A-OK, the points and the yardage the defense gave up are somewhat concerning, especially after the Raiders invested significantly on that side of the ball during the offseason. But you’d figure a bit more improvement from that unit as it goes from the hostile Superdome to the friendlier confines of home.
The Raiders’ excellent offensive line needed to make changes because of injuries to tackles Matt McCants and Menelik Watson. And they were already without their primary right tackle, Austin Howard, also due to injury. But even with all the re-shuffling, it was still able to prevent Carr from getting sacked against a weak Saints pass rush.
Even with those injuries, though, Oakland’s O-line still has more than enough talent to be the best unit on the field for either team in Week 2, and should help the Raiders find more of the same success in both the passing and running games against a pretty flimsy Falcons D-line.
The Raiders, though, didn’t have the greatest homefield advantage last season. They went just 3-5 (2-6 ATS) in eight home games.
Oakland’s line gives Carr the time he needs to pick the Falcons apart. The Raiders (-4.5) roll to a 28-17 home win.
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