Live Free Picks
Home Of 500 Handicappers
The Atlanta Falcons have been playing with fire the past two weeks, but they remain the NFC’s only unbeaten team heading into Sunday’s game against an Oakland team that had a bye week to prepare for Matt Ryan and Co. It’s the first meeting between these teams in four years.
Turner was bottled up for most of the day, running for just 67 yards on 18 carries, but broke through for a 13-yard sprint to the end zone when it mattered most for the Falcons, who are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Matt Ryan, the NFL’s top-rated passer, threw for 345 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 34-of-52 efficiency for Atlanta. Tony Gonzalez had a huge day receiving, catching 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, while Julio Jones snagged 10 balls for 94 yards and a score.
Atlanta coach Mike Smith is a firm believer in ball control and counts time of possession as one of the keys to a win each week. In last week’s win, the Falcons owned a 37:01-22:59 advantage in time of possession.
With the Falcons’ ability to eat up yards and sustain drives with a solid combination of passing and running, it is imperative that the Raiders use a strong ground game that eats up the clock and keeps the chains moving.
Oakland entered its bye on a 37-6 loss to Denver. The Raiders are committed to improving their run game despite a sluggish start. The team ranks last in the NFL at 60.8 rushing yards per game.
They have averaged 2.3, 1.6, 5.7 and 3.5 yards per carry in their four games. RB Darren McFadden’s 3.5 yards per carry are also 1.3 below his career mark heading into the year.
“We’re not discouraged,” QB Carson Palmer said. “I know a lot of people outside of this facility are discouraged in our run game, but we’re going to continue to work at it. We’re not going to give up, we’re not going to stop running the football. If anything, we’re going to run the football more.”
The Raiders have lost nine consecutive games following a bye. The last Oakland win after a bye was in 2002.
VEGASSPORTSBETTING ODDS: Falcons -9.5 (48)
RAIDERS : Club has won 3 of past 5 at Atl…In 2 games vs. Atl., QB Carson Palmer has completed 60 of 86 passes (69.8 pct.) for 678 yards with 5 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 112.5 rating. Had 412 pass yards, 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs, & 116.4 rating in last game vs. Atl. … RB Darren McFadden aims for 4th consecutive game with 100 rush yards vs. NFC (145, 105, 111). Raiders are 8-2 when he has 100 rush yards. Will play in 50th career game …
For career, WR Denarius Moore avg. 17.8 yards per catch (45 receptions, 801 yards). In past 2 vs. NFC, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey had 13 catches for 233 yards (17.9 avg.) with TD … TE Brandon Myers has career-best 228 receiving yards in ’12 … LB Philip Wheeler leads team with 34 tackles … DE Matt Shaughnessy has 3 sacks in past 3 against NFC … DT Tommy Kelly has 6.5 sacks in past 6 vs. NFC … DT Richard Seymour has 16.5 career sacks with Raiders.
FALCONS : Are 5-0 for 1st time in team history … QB Matt Ryan completed 17 of 22 (77.3 pct.) for 220 yards with 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 138.4 rating in last meeting. In career, Falcons are 27-0 when Ryan has 100 rating (4-0 in 2012). When Ryan has 3 TD passes, team is 14-0 (3-0 in 2012) …
RB Michael Turner rushed for 139 yards in last meeting. When he has 23 att., his teams are 21-1 (.955) … WR Roddy White has 93 catches for 1,343 yards (111.9 per game) & 11 TDs in past 12 vs. AFC. In past 6 at home, has 47 catches for 742 yards (123.7 per game) & 6 TDs. Since 2007, has 502 rec., most in NFC. WR Julio Jones has 6 TDs in 6 career games vs. AFC. TE Tony Gonzalez had 8 catches for 110 yards in last meeting. Has 99 rec.
TDs & needs 1 for 100. Aims for 4th in row vs. AFC with TD … DE John Abraham has 7 sacks, 3 FFs & FR in 4 career meetings & has sack in all 4 games. Had 3 sacks in last game vs. Oak. & 5 sacks in past 2 meetings. Has 115 sacks, most by active player. S Thomas DeCoud has 3 INTs in past 2 vs. AFC.
VEGAS TRENDS: Raiders are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game. Raiders are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU loss of more than 14 points. Raiders are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games. Raiders are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game. Falcons are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.