The Las Vegas Raiders are back on the road to play the Atlanta Falcons. Despite their record difference, Vegas cannot take this game lightly.
The Falcons are 3-2 since they fired head coach Dan Quinn and have shown some signs of life on defense. The Raiders are familiar with how things went before with “trap games“, and will look to make that a distant memory. Their offense is capable of going toe-to-toe with any defense and is averaging 28.6 points a game. Things will need to keep going in that department and these three Raiders will be key for just that.
1. Derek Carr has a favorable matchup in Week 12
Anyone who watched Sunday Night Football knows Carr was not at all the reason why the Raiders lost. He left it all on the field, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Carr has been excellent all season with a 6.33 TD-Int ratio and a 108.7 passer rating. He has already shown to be a dark horse candidate for MVP and will continue to do so.
This week is a great opportunity for Carr to be let loose once again as Atlanta allows an average of 300.3 passing yards a game. For those who participate in fantasy football, Atlanta allows the most points to quarterbacks, so be sure to start him. Carr is gonna be playing this game angry (remember that look on his face last Sunday?) and focused to put Vegas back in the win column.
2. The Raiders need Josh Jacobs to be productive
The star running back has been running well in his last three games before Sunday night, racking up 306 yards and three touchdowns. Last week was not as great, statistically with a touchdown and just 55 yards. That can be explained though because the Raiders were using the passing game more (34 -23 run-pass ratio). However, ’28’ still showed great power and burst ability against the Chiefs.
Despite less use last week, The Raiders are still going to need production on the ground this week. If they have a two-score lead in the second half, they should run more to control the time of possession. One statistic to keep an eye on is that Atlanta’s defense actually ranks ninth in rushing yards allowed per game. The offensive line should be up to the task nonetheless.
3. Nelson Agholor can’t afford to drop key receptions
Agholor was the top wide receiver last week, hauling in six passes for 88 yards and a score. He wasn’t perfect and dropped a key pass in the fourth quarter that could’ve changed the ending result. Not to worry though, fans should expect plenty of targets going his way against a weak Falcons secondary.
Agholor emerged as Carr’s number one wide receiver in 2020 and leads the team in touchdown receptions with six. Defenses will likely check him more often due to his performance which will only free things up for the rest of the offense. He is still averaging a whopping 18.5 yards per reception while the Falcons allow 11.7 yards. If this game remains too close down the stretch, ‘Nelly’ could be in store for 100+ yards and a score.
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Top Photo: Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun