The Ravens (4-2) return home this Sunday for a quick stop before playing their next two on the road to complete a tough stretch of four of their last five away from M & T.
Though tough isn’t exactly a word you would’ve used to describe Baltimore’s 48-17 thrashing of the Buccaneers in Tampa. Joe Flacco was setting records and the defense was running through the Tampa line almost at will. For this Sunday’s home game the team will stay in the NFC South and match-up with another team that is struggling in the Atlanta Falcons (2-4).
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Here’s what you need to know:
- The Falcons have lost three straight. Last Sunday they rallied from a 13-3 halftime deficit to tie the game late in the third quarter on Matt Bryant’s 54-yard field goal but were undone by a leaky secondary and an inability to make enough plays to match Jay Cutler who had his biggest passing game in six years and the second-biggest game of his career.
- Quarterback Matt Ryan had his struggles against Chicago as he completed just 19 of his 37 pass attempts for 271 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the loss. Ryan’s enjoyed a fairly good season up to this point. He’s second in the league in passing yards (1,850) for a QB Rating of 92.7. He got little help Sunday too as his receivers dropped 7 passes and his offensive line has been suspect at points too.
- Another of Atlanta’s issues on offense is the running game where they can’t seem to provide enough balance to the passing attack to keep defenses honest. Some of that may have to do with personnel decisions. For some reason veteran Steven Jackson continues to outsnap his competition even though the big bodied back can hardly break tackles or rush for long gains much these days. Meanwhile Antone Smith is the best thing they have going. He now has five touchdowns and has averaged 51 yards per scoring play this season. Four of those were of forty yards or more. A change could come this weekend.
- Julio Jones remains one of the league’s best at receiver and is a threat to line up all over the field. He remains the most targeted receiver in the league (66), and is ranked second in receptions (44). He’s is a threat to score on almost any play and will no doubt be a tough match up. The good thing for the Ravens is that Atlanta doesn’t seem to have a reliable option after him as Roddy White is second on the team with only 19 catches.
- Their offensive line was been a mess due to injury. The depleted line surrendered four sacks against the Bears.
- The Falcons have had plenty of issues stopping the run this season, getting gashed up the middle while not consistently setting the edge. Those themes continued as Matt Forte rushed 17 times for 80 yards and two crucial scores down the stretch.
- The Atlanta pass rush has been punchless so far and that’s led to some pretty poor pass coverage. They currently rank towards the bottom of the league and give receivers too much space to roam free.
2014 OVERALL NFL RANKINGS
PASSING YDS –306.8 (3rd Overall)
RUSHING YDS-103.2 (21st Overall)
OPP PASSING YDS-277.7 (29th Overall)
OPP RUSHING YDS-141.3 (27th Overall)
Matt has lived in Maryland his entire life and is a graduate of Calvert Hall and Towson University. has always been an avid Baltimore sports fan. Since 2007, he has been writing and talking about Baltimore sports, especially the Ravens. His work has appeared on Ravens Gab, Russell Street Report, and he currently co-hosts a podcast “The Blitz- A Ravens podcast” with Brent Harris.