The Oakland Raiders were happy that their bye week came early in the year. After a rough first four games, the Raiders needed the extra time to evaluate their play and attempt to figure out how to turn the ship around before it rests at the bottom of the ocean. However, while the early bye week was a good thing for the Raiders, their first game back from the bye week couldn't be any worse.
Not only will the Raiders have to go on the road for their first game after the bye, they will travel to the home of one of the best teams in the NFL this season, the Atlanta Falcons. In the past, the Raiders have had big time difficulties playing on the road, and while Atlanta is not quite as far as Miami, it is still a long trip and even worse than the trip to face the Miami Dolphins, the Raiders will go up against one of the most complete teams in the NFL.
The Falcons offense is about as well rounded as one could hope for. They have a great running back in Michael Turner, who can not only run up the gut for the hard earned yards, he can also break off big time runs, even though he isn't the fastest of backs. His vision and ability to break tackles make him a very dangerous threat on the ground. Then, when you look at the passing game of the Falcons, things look even dimmer for the Raiders. Matt Ryan and Roddy White make up one of the greatest QB/WR combo's in the NFL today, and may wind up being one of the best of all time. On top of White, the Falcons also have the best tight end to ever play the game in Tony Gonzalez and a great compliment to White at WR with Julio Jones. The Raiders will have to play their best defensive game of the season just to keep the score close.
On defense, the Falcons are not quite the world beaters they are on offense. They are by no means push overs, but they are also a team that can be scored on, and must be scored on if their opposition has any chance of winning. The Raiders offense has been almost unwatchable this season. After putting up top ten numbers in the NFL last year, the offense this year can barely buy a first down. With so many areas the Raiders needed to work on during the bye week, the offense might not have been able to figure out their problems sufficiently enough to compete on Sunday. That, however, would be devastating for Oakland, as their only chance to win is if their offense can put a lot of points on the board.