Given the bombardment of political rhetoric and the fact-shrouding that has saturated our news streams and tweet feeds, I thought it would be appropriate if I kept this preview to just the facts. That means no studies that do or do not confirm that Mitt Romney’s budget plan, or lack thereof, does or does not place the burden of deficit reduction on the middle class. No discussion as to whether President Barack Obama scheduled an appearance on “The View” the day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in New York. None of that. Just facts And they are as follows:

  • 1994: The last time the Raiders won a game in Atlanta.
  • 2000: The last time the Raiders beat the Falcons.
  • 2009: The last time the Raiders won in the Eastern time zone.
  • 0-2: The Raiders road record this season.
  • 19-72: The cumulative score of those two games.
  • 10-59:  The cumulative score of the Raiders two games against the Falcons since 2000.
  • 350.5: The average yards gained by the Falcons at home.
  • 477.5: The average yards allowed by the  Raiders on the road.
  • 28.5: The average points scored by the Falcons at home.
  • 36.0: The average points allowed by the Raiders on the road.

I’ll stop there. You don’t need the facts to know that the Raiders are the inferior team, just as you don’t need to know that Obama’s policies have net 125,000 jobs. What you need to know is if things will be different going forward. This requires extrapolation and guesswork. A whole lot of guesswork.

In the Raiders’ case, I’d guess no. I’d guess that history will prove the future, and that the Raiders will lose, by a large margin. As for Romney and Obama, that’s for you to figure out (I’m sure Stan would love to help, if you needed some … advice).

Why They’ll Win

My faith in the Raiders is pretty low, as you’ve read. Still, I can’t count them out completely. The NFL turns out shocking upsets weekly. It happened last week with the Colts, with the Vikings in Week 4 (and 3), and even with the Raiders in Week 3. So, perhaps the Raiders of Week 6 can be those of Week 3. Who knows?

If they do win, it’ll likely be because Darren McFadden replicates his Week 3 performance. But to do so would be tricky and improbable. What’s more, they’d need to slow the Falcons’ passing attack in some fashion. Since Pat Lee, Joselio Hanson, and Michael Huff have been pretty ineffectual, the onus is on the defensive line, namely Andre Carter, to disrupt the timing of quarterback Matt Ryan.

Why They’ll Lose

(see above)

What They’re Saying

Raiders vs Falcons: Sketching out a game plan for Oakland by Christopher Hanson

Oakland Raiders hope to follow Atlanta Falcons’ blueprint by Jerry McDonald

 Raiders hope to spoil Falcons’ plans by Vic Tafur

Key Matchups: Raiders vs Falcons by Levi Damien

Who We’re Taking

Oakland Raiders @ Atlanta Falcons (-10.5)

Bay Area Sports GuyJust like before the season began, I have no idea what to expect from Dennis Allen’s team following the bye week. But I do expect the extra time to rest and prepare to help the Raiders stick around in this one, despite Atlanta’s distance from Oakland. Pick: Raiders

East Bay Sports Guy I hate to think that the Raiders are primed for a blowout, but it would foolish to expect otherwise. I’m not sure what’s more dismal about the Raiders: their play on the road, or their play in the secondary. Whatever the case, the Falcons are built to exploit such weaknesses. They possess size, speed, and 2,400 miles over Oakland.  Which is to say, you may want to look away for this one, Raiders’ fans. Pick: Falcons

Bay Area Stats GuyI don’t feel good about this pick and I came very close to overruling the system. The Raiders are not a good team, the Falcons are. This game in Atlanta. All bad signs for the Raiders. However they are coming off a bye and that may help them keep it close. The model protects a touchdown margin and a 58% chance of victory for the Falcons so we will see. Pick: Raiders

Ruthless Sports Guy: Don’t ask me why, I really don’t know. I have a good feeling that I’m going to get burned here, but I just can’t see getting 10.5 points and not taking it. The Raiders aren’t as bad as they looked in Denver. Right? Pick: Raiders

Bay Area Duck Guy: With a spread like this, I’d usually take the underdog. But let’s be honest, the Falcons are very tough at home, and the Raiders are simply not playing good football. Matt Ryan and co. can easily win by more than eleven points at home. Pick: Falcons

Power Rankings

As you can imagine, the Raiders’ shellacking at the hands of the Broncos did not endear them to pundits and analysts. These are current rankings, but the change represents the difference prior to Week 4.


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