Las Vegas couldn’t quite seal the deal on Sunday night against defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City. The Raiders came up just short and will now need to avoid a letdown performance on the road against Atlanta. The Falcons were unable to get the offense going in a loss to New Orleans last week.
Raiders' winning streak snappedLas Vegas had its three-game winning streak snapped by Kansas City in primetime on Sunday night. The Raiders were one-touchdown underdogs, but they took the lead in the final minutes. Patrick Mahomes answered with a game-winning drive, though, clinching the AFC West in the process. Las Vegas is still very much in position to make the playoffs, but it needs to avoid a letdown spot here. The Raiders were 6-4 last season before losing five of their final six games to miss the postseason. They are led by an offense that is scoring 28.6 points per game, which is good for eighth in the NFL.
Quarterback Derek Carr should be excited to face an Atlanta defense that is sitting at No. 29 in the league. Carr has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL this season, completing 69.7 percent of his passes. He has thrown 19 touchdowns to only three interceptions. Running back Josh Jacobs has picked up 755 yards, but he is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Tight end Darren Walker has caught 60 passes for 519 yards and five touchdowns to lead the team. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor has added 24 receptions for 443 yards, averaging a ridiculous 18.5 yards per catch.
Falcons hoping to protect RyanThis is a sandwich spot for an Atlanta team that is coming off a road loss to New Orleans and has a rematch with the Saints on deck. The Falcons fell to 3-7 on the season with last week’s loss, so bettors are fair to be skeptical of the team’s mentality at this point. While the defense has been among the league’s worst, Atlanta’s offense has been pretty good. The Falcons are averaging 381.9 yards per game, which is good for No. 10 in the NFL. They have often been referred to as “paper tigers” over the last few seasons, because their good stats never seem to translate into victories.
Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 2,978 yards. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 15-to-7, so he is not nearly as efficient as Carr. Ryan struggled to stay on his feet against the Saints, getting sacked eight times. He should have more success against a Las Vegas team that does not have a great pass rush. The Raiders have really struggled against the pass, allowing 273.6 passing yards per game. Atlanta would normally be primed to take advantage, but top wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones are both listed as questionable on the injury report. Both players have been banged up for the majority of the season.
Stats & Trends
Las Vegas is:
- 5-1 ATS in its last six games
- 6-1 ATS in its last seven road games
- 1-4 ATS in its last five home games
- 2-14 ATS in its last 16 games vs. a team from the AFC
I like Las Vegas to win this game and avoid the letdown spot. Head coach Jon Gruden is among the best in the league at motivating his team and he understands how important this game is. The Raiders cannot afford to fall behind in the super tight AFC Wild Card race. Atlanta’s injury problems and motivational concerns are a big deal heading into Sunday, so this could be a game that the Raiders end up running away with. I’ll take the better team that should be more motivated to win this one.