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Preview: Raiders at Falcons


The Atlanta Falcons already are off to the best start in franchise history, and the struggling Oakland Raiders are the only thing standing between them and a 6-0 start. The Raiders had a bye week to lick their wounds after a 37-6 loss at Denver, and now they head to the Georgia Dome to face one of two undefeated teams in the league. The Falcons will look to continue their impressive offensive performance and pad their comfortable lead in the NFC South, while Oakland desperately needs a win to stay in the hunt in the wide-open AFC West. The Falcons have won the past two meetings — in 2004 and 2008 — after losing three straight to the Raiders.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Falcons -9, O/U 48.5

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-3): Oakland was abysmal two weeks ago in Denver, managing just 237 total yards while allowing 503. Those woes are emblematic of the troubles the Raiders have faced in their first four games - the defense hasn't put up much resistance and the offense ranks last in the NFL with 60.8 rushing yards per game. Oakland's wide receivers have not been much of a factor - running back Darren McFadden leads the team with 18 receptions and tight end Brandon Myers has a team-high 228 receiving yards.

ABOUT THE FALCONS (5-0): Atlanta has had to squeak out three wins by a touchdown or less en route to its first 5-0 start. The ground game hasn't been where it was in recent years, as running back Michael Turner has lost a step, but Matt Ryan looks like an elite quarterback in the making and has a strong receiving corps led by Roddy White (31 catches, 481 yards, 3 TDs), Julio Jones (26 catches, 313 yards, 4 TDs) and Tony Gonzalez (39 catches, 388 yards, 4 TDs). The defense has given up plenty of yardage but has mitigated the damage by forcing 14 turnovers, including at least one in each game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Atlanta is 27-0 when Ryan has a quarterback rating of 100.0 or higher, including four wins this season.

2. McFadden and FB Marcel Reese have combined for 31 receptions, which ranks third in the NFL among backfield combinations despite the Raiders having played only four games.

3. Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez has 99 career receiving touchdowns and is looking to become the eight player - and the first tight end - with 100.

Prediction

Free Daily Lock Pick: NBA: Brooklyn vs. Golden St. - March 12th - (100% Confidence Release)

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Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Capacity: 71,000

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