Game Preview: Raiders vs. Falcons

This early in the season it’s tough to do much in the way of previews, as there aren’t yet enough trends to spot anything really predictable.  The good news is that Oakland currently is #1 in offensive rushing; the bad news is that they’re dead last in passing and total yards defensively. Obviously, both rankings will probably change after the next game.

Coming off a wild finish in New Orleans last week, the Raiders should put up a solid home opener against an Atlanta team that got tuned up for 281 yards and 4 TDs by Jameis Winston and the Bucs.

The Falcons’ main weakness — pass defense — mirrors the Raiders’ own. New CB Sean Smith got torched repeatedly by Drew Brees, so Matt Ryan will be itching to test Smith out with Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and Tevin Coleman. Jones and Sanu each had aTD in Tampa Bay last week, and Coleman racked up 95 yards on 5 receptions.

Atlanta only managed 52 rushing yards (including 10 from Ryan), so they may be vulnerable in the running game, as well as their pass defense.

Already the Raiders’ offensive line is in trouble. Right tackles Menelik Watson (groin) and Matt McCants (knee) are both doubtful, and center Rodney Hudson (knee) and RG Gabe Jackson (knee) are both listed as questionable. RB and special teams ace Taiwan Jones (concussion) is also listed as questionable.

With a victory, Oakland would start 2-0 for the first time since 2002, and beat Atlanta for the first time since 2000.

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