Raiders vs. Falcons preview: Oakland faces tough test after bye weel with Matt Ryan and Atlanta

Thearon W. Henderson - Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders needed a week off to figure out how things went so wrong, but coming back from the week off by traveling to play the Atlanta Falcons may not be the best way to make things right.

The Oakland Raiders had a terrible first quarter of the season. Aside from a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which now seems to have been an aberration, the Raiders looked like one of, if not the worst team in the NFL. Their offense went from one of the league's best in 2011, to something that a pee wee league coach would be embarrassed of in 2012. Meanwhile, the defense that was one of the worst in the league in 2011, seems intent on repeating that in 2012.

Now that the Raiders have had a bye week to try and figure out what has gone wrong over the first four weeks of the season, they will have to come back from the bye with a very difficult game on the road. This Sunday, the Raiders will travel to play the Atlanta Falcons, one of the NFL's best teams early in the 2012 season. While it is good for the Raiders to test the things they worked on over the bye week, taking on one of the best teams in the NFL is not something any team looks forward to, regardless of how their season had been going.

Matt Ryan, the quarterback for the Falcons, is having a great season and is likely looking forward to what will be an opportunity to have a great game, statistically, against one of the worst secondaries in the league, against the Raiders. Not to mention the fact that Michael Turner has to be licking his lips at what the Raiders rather generously refer to as their run defense.

The Raiders had a lot to work on during their bye week, and only a big turnaround in a lot of different areas will allow the Raiders to get back on the path to a good season. But with both the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos suffering losses this past weekend, the Raiders still have slim hopes of competing for the AFC West crown.

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