TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 6: Oakland Raiders At Atlanta Falcons

Raiders
Falcons
Oakland Raiders v San Diego Chargers
Wild Card Playoffs - Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants
Quarterback
Playing an upper-echelon team on the road is usually not the ideal scenario for Carson Palmer. That’s what will happen against the undefeated Falcons. Palmer is going to be under pressure throughout this game and he has completed 61.1 percent of his passes this year. That’s good but he will have to be even better against the Falcons
Winner Matt Ryan continues to play like he wants to raise the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February. The Falcons and their quarterback continue to play with extra motivation, but you can’t win the Super Bowl in October. Ryan is going to have to sustain this level of play. He is not likely to be slowed by the Raiders.
Offense
The Raiders are going to try to run the ball against the Falcons in order to relieve the pressure on Palmer. Running back Darren McFadden is coming off a shoulder injury that limited him in Week Four vs. the Broncos. The bye week should have helped him recover. Speedy wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey will be questionable because of a neck injury
Winner It’s time to recognize the wide receiving combination of Roddy White and Julio Jones as one of the best WR duos in the league. White has great hands, the ability to get open and can keep drives alive. Jones is coming into his own as a big-play threat. Michael Turner is a solid running back who can run inside or outside.
Defense
The Raiders are going to have to improve their effort if they are going to hang with the Falcons on the road. In order to slow down the Atlanta offense, you need significant pressure on the quarterback and the Raiders have not been able to do that yet. Richard Seymour is still the best player on this defense in the middle of the defensive line, but he is not getting enough help.
Winner Outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon continues to play superb football for the Falcons. He had 11 tackles and one sack in the win over the Washington Redskins in Week Five. Defensive end Kroy Biermann is an underrated weapon who uses his speed to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
Special Teams
Winner Sebastian Janikowski has been one of the most consistent legs in the NFL. When the Raiders need a late field goal, Janikowski is usually money in the bank. Punter Shane Lechler is also one of the most dependable players in the league at his position. He gets excellent height and he can also place the ball inside the 20 with regularity.
Matt Bosher had a solid game punting the ball against the Redskins, averaging 48.8 yards on eight punts. Matt Bryant is a solid kicker. The Falcons are waiting for Jacquizz Rodgers to bust a long return.

The Winner Is

Wild Card Playoffs - Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants
Winner Falcons
3 out of 4

The Falcons were pushed hard by the Redskins on the road last week and they should feel a lot more comfortable in their home environment at the Georgia Dome. Ryan is playing like he is an MVP this year and he will punish the Oakland defense with his pinpoint passing. A big win for the Falcons.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    NCAA Championship Tale: #1 Wisconsin Badgers Vs. #1 Duke Blue Devils

    Two No. 1 seeds battle for the national title. Here is a look at the matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and Duke Blue Devils.

  2. Andrew Harrison #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons, Getty Images) Sam Dekker #15 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)
    Final Four Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #1 Kentucky

    The Final Four features very few surprises this season, with three number one seeds making it into the final weekend of the 2015 NCAA College Basketball Tournament.

  3. Jahlil Okafor #15 and Justise Winslow #12 of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo Credit: Bob Leverone, Getty Images) Branden Dawson #22 of the Michigan State Spartans (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)
    Final Four Tale: #1 Duke Vs. #7 Michigan State

    In 1999, Tom Izzo took the Michigan State Spartans to the Final Four for the first time on his watch, and they met Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils.

See All Tales of the Tape