Week 12 Preview: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Atlanta Falconsby Nicolette Rojo November 29, 2020 0 comments
After a heartbreaking loss to the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, the Las Vegas Raiders travel to Atlanta to take on the struggling Falcons. Yes, in four quarters. The Raiders are 6-4 and in the AFC playoff picture for the final spot. Meanwhile, the Falcons are 3-7 after winning three of their last five games and aim to bounce back from a painful performance against the New Orleans Saints.
Las Vegas Raiders
In the organization’s inaugural Las Vegas season, the Raiders are in playoff contention for the first time since 2016. A huge reason for their success is their offense, dominating on the ground and air all season. Las Vegas is ranked sixth in offensive rating (108.7). Derek Carr is having a dark-horse MVP season, throwing for 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions and completing 69.7 percent of his passes (fourth in the league). Josh Jacobs is showing no signs of a sophomore slump as he is ranked fourth in rushing yards with 755. Nelson Alghalor and Darren Waller have emerged as an elite receiver and tight end in the National Football League.
This is a solid opportunity for the Raiders to put up points with the Falcons’ struggles in their pass defense. The Falcons allow 300 yards in the air per game, which is second to last in the league. However, Atlanta only allows 106.3 yards per game on the ground, which is ninth in the NFL. Look for the Raiders to mix up the playcalling and continue to utilize the play action.
Despite the Raiders’ success on offense, what is holding them back is their inconsistency on defense. Las Vegas has a young defense, which shows in the pass defense. The Raiders are ranked 26th overall on defense and 28th in pass defense. This matchup gives the young secondary a disadvantage. However, they are getting Lamarcus Joyner and Cory Littleton back off the COVID-19/reserve list. How do you limit the dangerous receiving core of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley? You put pressure on Matt Ryan, who is primarily a pocket quarterback. With Todd Gurley ruled out, the Raiders have a slight advantage with their run defense, which will be key.
The Falcons are on the opposite side of the spectrum. They are not eliminated from playoff contention, but they’re not exactly contenders either. However, do not let their record fool you. Atlanta started the season 0-5 and allergic to the fourth quarter, but have since won three of their last five games. Ryan may be inconsistent in fantasy football but is still fourth in passing yards with 2,978 in the air. However, he has thrown four interceptions in his last three games. As long as he protects the ball, Atlanta will excel on offense.
This Week 12 matchup is perfect for the Falcons as they average 280.6 yards per game in the air and are challenging a rocky Raiders’ pass defense. However, a note to look at is Jones’s injury status, which is a game-time decision. Gurley is already out, so Brian Hill will get the start. If Jones cannot play, the Falcons will struggle a bit but can adjust against a shaky Raiders’ defense. Regardless, expect Ridley to have a solid game, along with Hill due to the Raiders’ poor run defense.
Atlanta has struggled all season in their pass defense, so the key to victory will be their run defense. The Falcons have executed and slowed down opposing run games, but have yet to beat a team with a winning record. However, they have been playing better, especially on defense after firing Dan Quinn midseason. Defensive end Dante Fowler is questionable with a hamstring injury, so if he is unable to go, it will be harder to challenge a strong Raiders’ offensive line.
Date: November 29, 2020
Start Time: 10:00 A.M. pst
Location: Atlanta, GA
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Points Spread: LV -3 (-110) | ATL +3 (-110)
Moneyline: LV -180 | ATL +145
Over/Under: O 53.5 (-110) | U 53.5 (-110)
This game will certainly be a shootout between two solid offenses, so take the Raiders and their -3 points due to Atlanta’s poor pass defense. If Jones can play, take the over for this one. If not, consider taking the under with Gurley already out and the ambiguity of Hill’s performance on the ground.
The Raiders are 2-0 against NFC South opponents this season and have excelled offensively against a decent Chiefs’ defense in Week 11. Expect Carr to have a field day against the Falcons’ pass defense. However, expect Ryan to do the same against Las Vegas, especially if Jones can play. Both teams have poor defenses, so this game will certainly be a shootout and come down to who can make the extra play on both sides. The Raiders have been more consistent this season, so expect them to walk away with a close victory.
Final Score: Las Vegas Raiders 31, Atlanta Falcons 24