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The Raiders Are Getting Healthy At The Wrong Time

The wrong time for the Atlanta Falcons, anyways.

Thearon W. Henderson - Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders passing game has been, to put it mildly, pretty anemic. Carson Palmer has played decently well all the way around, but the Raiders aren't passing the pants off of anyone.

Part of the reason for that has been the team's injuries at wide receiver. Lethal deep threat Denarius Moore has been inconsistent, and the suddenly resurgent Darius Heyward-Bey was knocked out on a brutal hit against the Steelers. Palmer simply hasn't had all his weapons on the field and performing at the same time.

With the bye week, the Raiders suddenly have their two best receivers back and healthy. This isn't going to turn the Raiders and Palmer into an absolute juggernaut, but any kind of offensive balance turns what should be an easy win for the Falcons into much more of a struggle. Frankly, the Falcons could use an easier game after consecutive bumpy outings against the Panthers and Redskins.

But back to the wideouts. If you're going to try to shut down the ground game and make Palmer beat you, you have to be aware that both receivers can burn. Moore, in particular, is averaging 15.2 yards this year per reception, and in two games he's gone over 18 yards per catch. His deep speed and quality hands make him dangerous, even against a superior Falcons secondary.

The only good news for the Falcons is that DHB is almost certainly not going to be 100% after getting several of his bells rung earlier this season, which allows the team to really concentrate on Moore. That's going to be essential, especially when you consider that Darren McFadden can catch passes.

If I'm Mike Nolan, I try to cut the problem off at its source by knocking down Carson Palmer and forcing him into bad throws. How would you handle it?