Raiders vs Falcons
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Game Preview: Raiders vs. Falcons – Week 12

Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)  |  Atlanta Falcons (3-7)



The Las Vegas Raiders will try to improve to 7-4 Sunday when they visit the Atlanta Falcons who come into the game with a record of 3-7.


Raiders vs Falcons
Photo Credit: Arrowhead Pride

Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden said the Falcons are “the best 3-7 team I’ve ever seen.” While that may be a slight overstatement, the Falcons have played much better of late since Raheem Morris took over as head coach.

The team was 0-5 when they fired then-head coach Dan Quinn. Since then, they’re 3-2 under Morris, with wins over the Vikings, Panthers, and Broncos. Their losses were to the 8-2 Saints last week and a one-point loss to the Lions.

It’s very dangerous,” said Raiders’ offensive coordinator Greg Olson. “This isn’t college football. This is the National Football League. If you don’t prepare each week, you will be embarrassed. We try to obviously guard against that as coaches. And I think the more mature team you have, the more veteran players you have, the more you avoid those pitfalls of the trap games. I think we have a mature team. They’ve prepared well this week with the short schedule. We wouldn’t expect anything less from them. Certainly, every team in the National Football League can beat any other team on any given Sunday. Hopefully, our players are mature enough to understand that.”

The one area that has improved tremendously since Morris took over is the defense. With five games before and five games since, it’s easy to compare directly. They allowed over 32 points per game in the first five and over 22 points per game in the last five. That’s a ten-points per game shift.


In Week 11, the Raiders faced the Kansas City Chiefs for the second and final time of the regular season, falling by a score of 31-35 and splitting the season series.


Raiders vs Falcons
Photo Credit: Kansas City Star

In the contest, quarterback Derek Carr was nearly flawless, completing 23-of-31 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns to just one interception on the team’s final offensive play, earning a passer rating of 119.7. It marked his seventh game this season with a passer rating over 100.

On the other end of Carr’s touchdown passes were wide receivers Nelson Agholor and tight ends Darren Waller and Jason Witten. Waller currently ranks tied fifth among all tight ends with a career-high five touchdown receptions on the year. Running back Josh Jacobs found the end zone for a third consecutive game for the first time in his career and added to his career-high with nine scores for the season.

On the ball’s defensive side, cornerback Trayvon Mullen recorded his second career interception and first of the season and notched six tackles, and two passes defended.

This will be the Raiders‘ final contest against the NFC South this season with a 2-1 record against the division, holding wins over Carolina and New Orleans. Their only loss came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Raiders and Falcons connections:


  • Raiders’ offensive coordinator Greg Olson and Falcons’ interim head coach Raheem Morris spent time on the same coaching staff in Tampa Bay from 2009-11, serving as offensive coordinator and head coach.
  • Raiders’ defensive backs coach Jim O’Neil and Falcons’ senior defensive assistant Bob Sutton spent time on the same coaching staff with the New York Jets from 2009-12, serving as assistant defensive backs coach and senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach, respectively.
  • Raiders’ wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett and Falcons’ secondary/defensive pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. spent time on the same coaching staff in Green Bay from 2009-17, serving as wide receivers and secondary/cornerbacks coach, respectively.
  • Raiders’ head strength and conditioning coach A.J. Neibel spent six years with the Falcons, joining as a strength and conditioning assistant from 2011-12 before becoming head strength and conditioning coach (2013-15) and athletic performance manager (2016).
  • Raiders’ strength and conditioning assistant D’Anthony Batiste started four games at tackle for the Falcons in 2007.


The Raiders and the Falcons both possess high-powered offenses with several capable playmakers at every skill position. With speed, finesse, power, and raw athleticism on full display, the Raiders’ Week 12 matchup won’t be one you want to miss. Raiders head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons Sunday at 10:00 AM on CBS.

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Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Twitter: @JoeArrigo

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Raiders vs Falcons