Ravens vs. Falcons Preview

Sports and Bets — October 19, 2014 at 3:39 am by

After last week’s emphatic 48-17 win over Tampa Bay, the Ravens (4-2) are returning home to battle the struggling Falcons (2-4). This game has much more at stake than your typical AFC/NFC matchup. The Falcons have lost three straight, and need a win in the worst way if they are going to make a playoff run. While the Ravens could really use a win before back-to-back AFC North clashes at Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh over the next two weeks. Also, this game will be the second time that the top two quarterbacks from the 2008 NFL Draft class, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, face off. Their first matchup came in the Georgia Dome back in 2010, with Ryan and the Falcons coming out on top, 26-21, in a thrilling ball game. I don’t think that history’s going to repeat itself, though. The 2008 NFL Draft only had room for one elite ball slinger, and that man is none other than Joseph Vincent Flacco.

flacco

2014 Stats (per game)

Points – Baltimore: 27.3, Atlanta: 27.3
Points Allowed – Baltimore: 16.2, Atlanta: 28.3
Pass Yards – Baltimore: 257.0, Atlanta: 306.8
Rush Yards – Baltimore: 132.8, Atlanta: 103.2
Pass Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 270.5, Atlanta: 278.8
Rush Yards Allowed – Baltimore: 90.7, Atlanta: 140.2
Turnover Differential – Baltimore: 0.67, Atlanta: minus 0.5

Ravens Injury Report

DE Christo Bilukidi – Out (Ankle)
DE Chris Canty – Out (Wrist)
T Eugene Monroe – Doubtful (Knee)
G Kelechi Osemele – Doubtful (Knee)
DT Timmy Jernigan – Probable (Knee)
WR Marlon Brown – Probable (Pelvis)
WR Kamar Aiken – Probable (Concussion)

Falcons Injury Report

WR Harry Douglas – Out (Foot)

Ravens’ Offense vs. Falcons’ Defense

Last week, James Hurst and John Urschel did a terrific job filling in on the left side for Monroe and Osemele. This week, they should once again be able to get the job done against Atlanta’s dogshit defensive line. The Falcons are 27th in the league in stopping the run, tied for 27th in sacks, and dead last in allowing rushing touchdowns. The Falcons have given up 12 TDs on the ground, while the next closest team has only surrendered seven. All signs point to another very productive day for the Ravens’ three-headed-monster lead by Justin Forsett.

The Falcons’ secondary isn’t much better, either. Atlanta’s 29th against the pass, 24th in opponent’s quarterback rating, and tied for 25th in INTs. This bodes well for a Ravens passing attack that seems to be coming around. Flacco has thrown for 289.3 yards per game, eight TDs, and just one INT over his last three games. Last week, Torrey Smith finally had a big day at the office, catching four balls for 51 yards and two TDs. And then there’s the consistently dominant, Steve Smith Sr. In his age-35 season, Smith Sr. has posted four 100 yard games over the first six games of the season. Ice up, Father Time. I just want this Falcons secondary to take their beating like men when they get roasted, unlike that slapdick Ray Buchanan.

patrick johnson2

Ravens’ Defense vs. Falcons’ Offense

The Ravens will have their hands full trying to stop Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Ryan is 2nd in the NFL with 1,850 passing yards, and he’s tied for 7th with 12 passing TDs. But, like he has been throughout his career, Ryan has been much less effective on the road. This season, Ryan has a 3:1 TD to INT ratio over three home games. Over three road games, Ryan has a 5:6 TD to INT ratio. Jones is about as tough of a cover as any wide out in the league. He’s 3rd in the NFL with 103.3 receiving yards per game, and he’s caught three TDs this season. Jimmy Smith will really have his work cut out for him, but I think he’ll be up to the challenge and handle his own.

The Ravens hope that their pass rush was able to turn the corner last week. After only posting five sacks through the first five games of the season, they erupted to record five sacks against Tampa Bay. Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, and company will look to prove that last week’s impressive outing wasn’t a fluke. It won’t be an easy task, as Atlanta has a solid offensive line that has only allowed Ryan to get dropped 10 times on the season.

ravens bucs

Rapid Fire Facts

• Running back Antone Smith has five TDs on the season, which have totaled an astounding 255 yards. Smith’s shortest TD this season traveled 38 yards.

• Since the John Harbaugh/Joe Flacco era began in 2008, the Ravens are 12-1 at home against NFC opponents (Jeff Zrebiec).
• Over their last four games, the Falcons have been outscored 49-0 in the fourth quarter (Jeff Zrebiec).
• Not including this season, Flacco has 62 career regular season victories, while Ryan has 60. These are the most and the 2nd most win totals by quarterbacks through their first six seasons since the 1970 merger (David Ginsburg).
• Atlanta is 0-3 on the road this season, with an average margin of defeat of 12.3 points.

cover pic: NFL
Flacco pic: Sportige
Patrick Johnson/Ray Buchanan gif: Tumblr
Ravens sack Glennon pic: Baltimore Sun

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