It's always interesting to peek across enemy lines and see what your next opponent is saying about your team. Let's take a look around Raider Nation and see what they are saying leading up to this weekends game with the Falcons....
This game against the Falcons is possibly the toughest matchup on the Raiders schedule this year.......Even with the two weeks of prep time I don't think anybody can feel very comfortable with Oakland's corners lining up across Roddy White and Julio Jones. That isn't even mentioning how amazing Matt Ryan has been this year, which has been MVP quality.
Despite the obvious reasons for pessimism I actually have a little bit of optimism coming into this game. Not because I suddenly believe in the direction that the Raiders have been heading, but because this is exactly the type of game the Raiders end up winning.
However what I am nervous about is what an improved Falcons attack can do against a wounded Raiders defense. Back in ’08 Michael Turner and Atlanta ran all over Oakland. Turner racked up 139 of Atlanta’s unreal 252 yards rushing while Ryan threw for 220 yards and 2 TDs.
On Sunday Oakland heads to A-Town where the undefeated and high-powered Falcons await…gulp.
Making my Raiders angst even more troubling is the fact that these Falcons are much more deadly than those dirty birds of ’08. And Oakland’s defense is surely not any better than the one that got rolled back then. In fact, these Raiders have yet to even intercept an opponent’s pass in 2012.
Oakland will be tested right out of its bye, with a trip to Atlanta to face Matt Ryan and an offense that has scored touchdowns on the highest percentage of drives in the league.
Part of the problem can be attributed to injuries to starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Bartell went out with a broken shoulder blade in the season opener against San Diego, and Spencer sprained his right foot the following game in a loss to Miami.
Bartell will be out until at least Nov. 11 and Spencer remains in a walking boot and has not been cleared to practice. The injuries have forced Huff to move from free safety to cornerback, where he has allowed nine catches on 15 throws for 145 yards and two touchdowns in his two starts on the outside.
The modernized Raiders defensive scheme was one of the main storylines of training camp.
Mixing coverages would assure cornerbacks the chance to play some zone and break on the ball. Safeties would play "downhill" with a better chance to jump routes. More frequent blitzing and a stout front four would assure quarterbacks would throw before they were ready.
Instead, the Raiders have given ground steadily to an endless procession of short passes, most recently by Ben Roethlisberger and Peyton Manning, and Sunday will see much of the same on the road against the unbeaten (5-0) Atlanta Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan.
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