TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 6: Atlanta Falcons Vs. Oakland Raiders

Falcons
Raiders
Wild Card Playoffs - Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants
Oakland Raiders v San Diego Chargers
Quarterback
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.
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
Offense
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.
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 help him recover. Speedy wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey will be questionable because of a neck injury.
Defense
Winner Outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon continues to play superb football for the Falcons. He had 11 tackles and 1.0 sack in the win over the Washington Redskins in Week Five. Defensive end Kroy Bierman is an underrated weapon who uses his speed to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
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.
Special Teams
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.
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.

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.

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