Atlanta Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders
Date and Time: Sunday, September 18, 2016, 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Week 2 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Raiders -4.5, O/U 47.5
Falcons vs. Raiders TV Coverage: CBS
The Falcons sure could have used a win in their season opener. Now, the road ahead looks far more daunting with a loss already under their belts. A trip to the West Coast for a battle with the Raiders, followed by a visit to New Orleans the following Monday are next up. It doesn’t get any easier. A Week 4 home date with the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers is followed by road trips to Denver and Seattle. While the loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday was tough, the contest with Oakland takes on a much bigger meaning now.
You have to hand it to Jack Del Rio and the Raiders. A gutsy call against the Saints paid off and Oakland opened the season with a tough road win. The Raiders are a trendy pick to snap their long funk of losing seasons and non-playoff appearances, and a move like the one Del Rio made Sunday might just be the sort of thing that gives the young group the confidence and momentum to carry through an entire season. Going for a two-point conversion and the lead following a score with under a minute left in regulation, the Raiders converted and escaped with a 35-34 win over the Saints.
Matchup To Watch
The Raiders are loaded with talent on the offensive side of the football and Del Rio has already proven that he has faith in the group to get the job done. In a game where the defense couldn’t stop New Orleans, it was the Oakland offense that kept them alive and, eventually, won the game. Del Rio rolled the dice by going for two after a late touchdown pulled the Raiders within a point. He could have played it safe and gone for the PAT to tie the game, then hoped his defense held the final 40 seconds before waiting on a coin flip to start the overtime. It was a bold move, one that showed a lot of confidence in the team’s strongest unit. And the move paid off.
There’s no telling what a call like that can do for a young offense. But the group, led by Derek Carr, didn’t let the coach down. Carr tossed a perfect ball to Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone and he expertly hauled it in. Brimming with confidence at a high, the Raiders get a Falcons’ group of defenders that were torched by Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. Oakland presents a similar look with a young, strong-armed quarterback, a set of gifted receivers and an offensive line that is among the best in the NFL.
Atlanta needs to find a way to pressure opposing quarterbacks and whatever they tried Sunday didn’t work. The Falcons had an NFL-low 19 sacks last season and failed to take Winston down. If the lack of pressure continues, expect Carr and the Raiders offense to do similar damage to Atlanta.
Falcons vs. Raiders Free Picks
After their exciting win in New Orleans, the Raiders opened at -4.5 for their home opener against the Falcons. It’s easy to get excited about Oakland after Del Rio defied the odds and went for the win in the final minute against the Saints. The offense was clicking and converted when it needed to, overcoming a two-touchdown second half deficit. The Raiders actually converted a pair of two-point conversions to overcome the Saints and get the win.
Keep in mind that it was the Saints, who were historically bad on defense last year and things haven’t changed all that much. Oakland’s defense was shaky and the result could be much different against the Falcons. Both teams played over the scoreline in their openers and the total of 47.5 on the odds at BookMaker.eu is well within reach. It’s hard to call the second game of the season a must-win, but Atlanta definitely needs one with a difficult stretch upcoming.
Falcons vs. Raiders Week 2 ATS Pick: Falcons +4.5 at BookMaker.eu
Falcons vs. Raiders Score Prediction: Falcons 30, Raiders 26