Raiders Face a Challenge Against the Undefeated Falcons in Atlanta


There is no other team in the NFL that can boast a moniker like Hotlanta! The Falcons are just what it says: hot, with a 5-0 record they are sitting on top of the NFC South. They have the look and swagger of a championship team that has enough fuel to go deep into the playoffs.

What makes the Falcons HOT? QB Matt Ryan and his 106.1 QB rating would be first on the hotness list. He is completing 68.3% of his passes. It is does not matter if it is short, mid range or a long bomb he is completing it. The Matt Ryan air attack averages 301 yards a game, a total of 1,507 yards with 13 TD passes to go with those yards.

Numbers two, three and four on the HOTNESS list for the Falcons is receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones, and tight end Tony Gonzalez. The three amigos have racked up a plethora of real estates in the five games the Falcons have gone undefeated. Roddy White has 481 yards with 3 TDs. Julio Jones has hauled in 313 yards with four TDs and tony Gonzalez has 4 TDs with 388 yards. Sure handed receivers that are capable of producing yardage after the catch, and taking the rock into the end zone.

Number five on the HOTNESS chart is Michael Turner, the running back for the Falcons. This is his ninth year in the NFL. A fire plug running back that has put 324 yards on his resume for the season along with three touchdowns. A bruiser, not a game breaker yet he is a solid player for the Falcons.

That’s just one side of HOTNESS ticket in Atlanta! The defense has had some difficulties but has prevailed in every game, giving up 11  touchdowns on the year. They have been gashed for 1729 total yards on the gridiron. Most of the yards have come in the passing game – 1015 passing yards and 714 rushing yards.

Eleven Falcons running to the ball trying to be a part of the play has caused countless turnovers for opponents. This reckless defense is the leading reason for the Atlanta Falcons 5-0 start.

Stephen Nicholas (#54, linebacker, leads the Falcons in tackles with 30 unassisted tackles and 8 assisted. #56 Sean Weatherspoon is in his third season from the Universityof Missouri, and is second on the tackle chart with 28 solos and 9 assist  from his linebacker position.#28 Thomas DeCoud is the top dog when it comes to taking the ball away from the opponent. DeCoud had four interceptions to go with his 20 solo tackles.

A respectable list of accomplishments for the 2012 season for the Atlanta Falcons. The upset alert light is on and shining brightly in Oakland. The Raiders are a team that are still trying to find its personality and they may have found it in the bye week.

The Raiders are at a point in the season where they have to perform and win. The offensive line is still the key to any success on offense. The success of the Raiders this year is in the pit with the offensive lineman. For a win, this phase of the game has to be dominate from the opening kick-off to the final snap.

Taking on one of the top 10 defenses against the pass will be a project for the depleted stable of receivers for the raiders. Denarius Moore will have to be a go to receiver in any situation. Brandon Meyers will have to be a part of the game plan for it to be successful in the Georgia Dome. Marcel Reece has been effective, and may big a bigger part of the game against the Falcons.

Carson Palmer has done what many could not do, avoided injury while the behemoths up front gel as a unit. Palmer has been a magician with his throws, 9 out of 162 with 2 interceptions. What more amazing is he has only been sacked three times on the year. Smoke and mirrors or razzle dazzle, Palmer is getting the job done with not much help.

Darren McFadden is due to have a break out game and stun not only the Raider Nation but the NFL. It has been a slow process to understand and develop the zone scheme for the all involved. You have to be confident that during the bye week, progress was made, and we will see that displayed on Sunday.

On defense, the front seven has been the foundation of the black shirts. Richard Seymour, Matt Shaughnessy, Rolondo McClain, Miles Burris, as well as Tyvon Branch have done a fair job, and a fair job gets you 1-3 on the season. For this upset alert to go viral on Sunday the Raiders will have to play lights out not only on the front seven but the secondary as well.

The defensive backfield has not challenged any receiver this season. No bump and run, confusion on who has what responsibility. No press coverage; it has been a zone cover fest and you cannot survive in the NFL with that type of soft coverage. The QBs release the ball too fast and receivers will make you pay for playing 5-7 yards off. Get in the game and make a difference.

The Georgia dome is a hostile environment, and the Atlanta Falcons are undefeated and playing at home. The Raiders have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Sure you say the Falcons won’t over look the Raiders. Ask Green Bay about over looking the Chiefs last year.