Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Matt Ryan has had a lot of success this year throwing to his two stud receeivers, Julio Jones and Roddy White. Will the Raiders be able to contain either of them this week?
This season has been Matt Ryan's breakout year thus far. After being a good, but not great, quarterback up to this point he has placed himself firmly amongst the elite QBs with this campaign, in which he is second in passing yards, touchdowns thrown and QB rating. He has relied on his two elite wide receivers and also his ageless surefire Hall of Fame tight end, Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons balance their passing attack with a good running game featuring the steady Michael Turner and the elusive Jacquizz Rodgers. The Falcons are undefeated and seen as one of the two best teams in the league.
Combine all this with the fact that the Raiders almost never win on the East Coast and you have a recipe for a blowout. Their only hope is to not only shut down the Falcons rushing game, but also find a way to adequately defend both Julio Jones and Roddy White. Michael Huff will again make a start at cornerback, which is woefully thin after nearly all the corners on the roster are injured.
The Raiders had a terrible time two weeks ago against Peyton Manning. He carved up the Raiders with precise passing and his ability to lead his receivers away from the coverage. Matt Ryan is not as adept at this as Manning, but he has considerably better wideouts and is more mobile in the pocket. He will make the occasional mistake but usually only when he is under heavy pressure.
The Raiders don't have the personnel to cover the Falcons one on one. They will have to use the scheme to defend the pass and put their safeties in a position to make plays on the ball. They will also have to generate pressure with their linebackers, as the Falcons have a superb offensive line and counting on the defensive line which could not sniff Peyton Manning to get to Matt Ryan consistently is a losing proposition. if the Raiders can force some turnovers with creative defense and shut down Turner and Rodgers, they will have a chance in this game.