Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 10/11/12
When the Oakland Raiders travel to the Georgia Dome on Sunday to take on the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, they must control the possession with their offense. Because Atlanta is 28-5 at home with Matt Ryan as their starting quarterback, Oakland will try to sustain drives and take the crowd out of the game.

 

“It’s just being in a dome, it’s always going to be a little bit louder,” Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said. “The way to get it quiet is to go out and get big plays and stay on the field and run the ball and try to quiet them down that way.”


Atlanta is known for their effective and fast paced offense. The Raiders will need to establish the running game on the Falcons 27th ranked rush defense. If they can accomplish that, they will be able to dictate the pace of the game and most importantly keep Atlanta's offense off the field. With the Raiders only converting on 27 percent of their third downs this season, it will be imperative that they manage their down and distances. The way to do that will be to balance the run and pass games to get into manageable third down situations.

“When you look at the overall passing game, it just comes down to execution,” Palmer said. “It’s not always just the quarterback and receivers, its 11 moving parts, being efficient, being in the right place at the right time and just executing everyone’s job individually. And that’s something, obviously, you go on the road and you get in third down situations, especially third and long situations and it gets extremely difficult with it being as loud as it’s going to be. So we want to stay out of third and long situations and be good and efficient in first and second downs and be able to not have to sit back in gun in max protections on third and 10 and try to get 10, 11 yards every time.”


One of the things that has hurt Oakland this season is getting down early. They have been able to stay in games in the first half, but have yet to jump on an opponent by scoring first and extending the lead. Playing on the road against a loud home crowd, the Raiders can deliver a huge blow by taking control of the game early. If they are unable to do that, it will be a similar situation to the first four games, where Oakland is forced to throw to play catch up and stray from their balanced offensive game plan.

With wide receivers Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey both healthy and on the field Sunday, the Raiders passing game should get a spark. The way to get both of those playmakers going is by making the Falcons respect the running game. Running back Darren McFadden always commands the opposing defenses' respect, but the inability this season to establish the run and the early deficits have forced the Raiders to be predictable on offense. When McFadden goes, the Raiders offense is at its best. He is as explosive as any back in the NFL and can lure defenses into the box to open up matchups on the outside for Heyward-Bey and Moore.

“With an offense like they have, an explosive offense, you want to control the clock a little bit and get your defense as much rest as possible,” Palmer said of the running game. “But it’s what gets the play-action game going. It’s what gets explosive plays because Darren can score from anywhere so it’s something we expect you’re going to do.”


 



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