The Oakland Raiders, who could be called the Las Vegas Raiders sooner rather than later, appear to be ready to be a legitimate threat to the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. I’m not going to get ahead of myself and say they are there yet, but they have been doing everything right. Jack Del Rio rolled the dice last week in New Orleans, opting to go for a 2-point conversion with seconds remaining to win the game. What that does is send a message saying that there is a lot of faith and confidence in the offense.
It also might mean we have no faith in our defense too, but hey, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper have this offensive unit clicking. To beat the Raiders, other teams might want to have their track shoes on and get the offense going. If not they’re going to pour it on and it’s going to be a game up catch up for three quarters.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Raiders’ offense was an embarrassment. I am mostly talking about when JeMarcus Russell was trying to figure out how to play quarterback. The future looked awfully bleak for the Raiders, but this was before they finally made a good selection at quarterback in the draft. The second-year quarterback out of Fresno State, not too far from Oakland, exceeding expectations in his sophomore campaign, firing for 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
After a rookie season which saw him throw 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, the predictions for Carr were in the 27 touchdown to 14 interception range. Carr avoided the sophomore slump though, and asserted himself as one of the best, young quarterbacks in the NFL. It doesn’t hurt either when you have a guy like Amari Cooper to throw it up to.
Carr got off to a fast start to 2016, passing for 319 yards and a touchdown. The running game helped him out, as six rushers combined for 167 yards. The only cause for concern was on the defensive side of the ball. Drew Brees passed for 423 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Raiders’ defense finished last in Week 1 against the pass. They struggled against the same thing last season, with the Raiders finishing 26th in the league against the pass. Matt Ryan and the Falcons will try and get their passing game on point this afternoon. I think they’re going to need it against the Raiders.
Atlanta Falcons vs Oakland Raiders NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Raiders -4.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons vs. Raiders Pick:
The Falcons were lit up last week at the expense of Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston made a big statement in Week 1, which saw him pass for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns. Doug Martin also chipped in with 62 yards on the ground. There are no breaks for the Falcons in Week 2, as now they have to take on Carr and the Raiders on the road, all the way across the country.
The running game for the Falcons was predictably non-existent, rushing for only 52 yards. Matt Ryan had to throw it up often and did all he could to help the Falcons out. Ryan dished out 334 yards and 2 touchdowns to eight different receivers. Atlanta made a nice addition with Mohamed Sanu in the offseason. Sanu offsets Julio Jones nicely on the other side of the field in the Falcons’ offense.
Atlanta allowed the explosive plays against the Buccaneers. They need to limit those against Oakland, but they’re playing against an explosive unit this afternoon. The Bucs scored a 23-yard touchdown, 30, and 40 in the game. Oakland should be able to find their yards and points against the Falcons’ defense. The Falcons are going to need to air it out in this one. While they have difficulties running the ball, the Raiders have difficulties stopping the pass, so their strength plays into Oakland’s weakness. I like both offenses to get into the act today, showcasing what should be a high-scoring matchup between the Falcons and Raiders.
PICK: OVER 48 POINTS (-110)