Atlanta Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders: 5 Bold Predictions For Week 2 Of 2016 NFL Season
American football aficionados were treated to an incredibly exciting slate of games over NFL’s opening weekend, and it’s fair to expect more of the same in Week 2 of the 2016 season as there are a number of intriguing matchups.
For example, in Week 2, the Atlanta Falcons make the long trip west to California’s famed Bay Area to take on the Oakland Raiders in what should be an absolutely enthralling NFC-AFC showdown.
In Week 1, the Falcons lost a heartbreaker (31-24) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, whilst the Raiders did them a favor by defeating Atlanta’s NFC South rival New Orleans Saints in their own building (35-34).
Coming off a tough home loss, the Falcons are in desperate need of a win, but face a tough chore ahead of them as Oakland is no longer the NFL’s punching bag. So, can Dan Quinn’s bunch pull off the upset and shock Jack Del Rio and Co. in front of the O.co Coliseum faithful?
Find out with these five bold predictions.
Derek Carr Electrifies
Derek Carr seemingly moved the ball at will on New Orleans in Week 1, tallying 319 yards and one TD. Despite a few solid additions over the offseason, Atlanta’s defense looked no different than it did last season against Tampa Bay in Week 1 as the Falcons gave up a brutal 31 points at home.
Thus, don’t be surprised when the Raiders carve Atlanta to shreds in this one. In fact, it’s fair to expect Carr to finish with over 300 yards and two TDs at minimum.
We’ve got to get back to work & find a way to be better this week. I know everyone in our building will work really hard to do that. #RiseUp
— Matt Ryan (@M_Ryan02) September 12, 2016
Matt Ryan Nowhere To Be Found
Atlanta’s offensive line struggled in Week 1. The Falcons allowed Matt Ryan to be sacked three times and looked lost in the run attack as they were only able to muster an unacceptable 55 rushing yards.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Oakland’s defensive line doesn’t give Ryan fits all game, ultimately forcing him into an abundance of bad decisions. Expect Matt to finish with less than 200 yards passing with just one TD and three INTs.
Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack Combine For Three Sacks
Bruce Irvin was borderline unblockable in Week 1 against New Orleans, as he finished with a sack and three total hits on Drew Brees. Put simply, Atlanta’s offensive line has no chance to stop both Irvin and Khalil Mack.
The Falcons will likely overcompensate in efforts to slow down one of the two players, and the other will consequently run through their line like it was Swiss cheese. Expect the duo to sack Ryan three times.
Mohamed Sanu Scores Falcons’ Lone TD
Mohamed Sanu silenced his naysayers in Week 1 against Tampa Bay, tallying five receptions for 80 yards and one TD in his debut for the Falcons.
Sanu outgained superstar Julio Jones by 14 yards, which is a trend that projects to continue this season as opponents elect to send double and triple coverage Jones’ way.
Despite a rough showing for Atlanta’s offense overall, Sanu will take advantage of the loosened coverage and finish with 75 yards and a touchdown.
Oakland Wins By Seven Points
The Falcons are a mediocre team at best, and mediocre teams rarely show up/impress on the road. While I’m sure Atlanta has some faith it will have a chance to expose Oakland’s defense after it gave up 34 points to New Orleans in Week 1, I just don’t see it.
Drew Brees can make any defense look incredibly foolish, and while Matt Ryan has been solid during the regular season for most of his career, he’s no Drew Brees.
At home in front of a rowdy crowd, the Raiders will march down field like a herd of savages on their first drive and finish with a touchdown to set the tone for how this one will unravel throughout all four quarters.
In contrast, boneheaded mistake after boneheaded mistake will plague Atlanta’s offense, and losing the turnover battle will be too tough to overcome. In the end, you can expect a convincing, seven-point win from Oakland.
.[Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images]