This Sunday, the Las Vegas Raiders will play the Atlanta Falcons. Now, looking solely on the record, one could argue that Vegas steps over the Falcons. Now, we all know that football is a game of surprises and wrinkles that continue to defy explanation. With that said, no one should take the 3-7 Falcons lightly. After the Sunday night meltdown, this team can’t approach anyone as a gimme.
Matt Ryan, years after the Super Bowl disaster, continues to accumulate big numbers. With 22 yards, Ryan will net his thirteenth consecutive 3,000-yard passing season. the 28-3 debacle, Canton punches his ticket. On the field, Ryan remains the picture of consistency. The velocity of his passes never wavers. Additionally, he still looks to push the ball down the field and test defenses. The Raiders will see Ryan stand in the pocket, with oncoming pressure. His 7.7 YPA fits with his career profile. Where the Raiders can thrive is, by applying pressure, Never the most mobile passer, Ryan does not possess the ability to escape the rush. If the Riders get home, though, make sure they are on the ground. If Paul Guenther wants to use Johnathan Abram as a rusher to negate his coverage flaws, Ryan serves as the perfect target.
Entering this game, Todd Gurley nurses a bad knee. After stellar years as Ram, Gurley returned home to Georgia. As of this writing. Gurley’s status is a game-time decision. If he does play, and the knee, foot, lower body remains sound, Gurley presents a problem for the Raiders. Anywhere near the goalline, Gurley is automatic. His nine touchdowns suggest that while the wheels lack tread, the engine still purrs. The Raiders need a sign of life from their interior defensive linemen. Additionally, out of the backfield, Gurley profiles as a sure-handed target. If Gurley does not play, look for fourth-year RB Brian Hill and slasher Ito Smith to share the workload. Hill bruises defenses while Smith runs to the perimeter.
The One You Don’t Know
Granted, everyone knows Julio Jones impacts games. Yet, with his status up in the air, the attention falls to his number two. Calvin Ridley on any other team could serve as the lead wideout. However, in Atlanta, Number 11 claims that distinction. Yet, Ridley offers up a whole new batch of headaches for the Raiders. First, his feet and the control of his steps jumps out on film. Ridley traces near-perfect routes on every single snap. Along the sidelines, he displays a keen awareness of the side and will use every scintilla of green to his advantage.