The Raiders offense has scored 30 or more points in 6 of their 10 games this year. Derek Carr is having a fantastic year and Las Vegas will come into town desperate for a win to keep them in the playoff hunt. Does the Atlanta defense have a chance? Let’s take a look.
In the trenches
When it comes to the defensive line, it’s all about Grady Jarrett. Despite getting nearly no help, he continues to be one of the best interior defensive lineman in the league. Bluntly, everyone else on this line is a disappointment. Dante Fowler is on the COVID list but has otherwise been a letdown. Steven Means, Charles Harris and Allen Bailey are all just bodies. Marlon Davidson has had a rough start to his rookie year and the only other decently scored player on this line - Deadrin Senat - is somehow in the doghouse.
The Raiders offensive line isn’t fantastic, but they’re good enough. On the inside, guards Denzelle Good and Gabe Jackson are ok at pass blocking while the man in the middle - Rodney Hudson - is a quality veteran. Right tackle Brandon Parker is the big weakness on this line, if only the Falcons had someone that could attack from the edges. LT Kolton Miller has also developed into a good starter on the left side in his third year.
Atlanta really doesn’t deserve any benefit of the doubt at this point. They’ll need to blitz to consistently generate pressure, and they just don’t seem willing to do it more than once or twice a game.
The skill positions
If there’s a bright spot for the Atlanta defense, it’s the play of some of it’s young guys on the back end. A.J. Terrell is having a good rookie season and is improving every week. Isaiah Oliver is mediocre, but not the terrible failure he’s been made out to be. Darqueze Dennard has been good, but was dreadful against the Saints. Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal have gotten better as the season has progressed but neither guy is playing particularly well. The linebackers are a mixed bag. Deion Jones has been erratic - sometimes looking amazing and other times looking like he’s just uninspired. Foye Oluokun has been quite good this year and rookie Mykal Walker has the best coverage grade of any of these guys.
Derek Carr has been great this year. He’s completing almost 70% of his passes with 19 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Second year running back Josh Jacobs is the real deal out of the backfield as both a runner and a receiver. Tight end Darren Waller continues to be overlooked but is an amazing talent. Nelson Agholor has put together a nice year after being a punchline in Philly. First rounder Henry Ruggs III has yet to really contribute in a meaningful way while second year receiver Hunter Renfrow has played well out of the slot. This is a good unit with some amazing long-term potential.
Yeah, this one is straight forward. Raiders get the nod here easily.
The writing is on the wall. The Raiders come in with a top 10 offense and Atlanta has a bottom of the league defense. We all know how this one is likely to play out.