Preview: Atlanta at Baltimore
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 19, 2014
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
The Atlanta Falcons were the class of the NFL offensively for the first few weeks, but Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens may have a claim to that title now. Flacco and the Ravens will try to follow up a dominating performance when they host the Falcons on Sunday. Flacco threw a career-high five touchdown passes in the first 16:03 of a 48-17 thrashing of Tampa Bay last week to send Baltimore to its fourth win in five outings.
The Ravens have not missed a beat in the running game without the dismissed Ray Rice thanks to the emergence of Justin Forsett and the quick maturation of a young offensive line. “(Forsett’s) a very thoughtful guy, highly-motivated, tremendous character and heck of a football player,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "... (We’re) just very blessed to have him on board.” The Falcons are fully aware of how easy it is to light up the scoreboard on Tampa Bay but have watched their point total decrease each week in three straight losses since a 56-14 triumph over the Buccaneers in Week 3.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Ravens -7. O/U: 49
ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-4): Atlanta has been tied or held the lead in the second half of each of the last three games but was outscored by a combined 35-0 in the fourth quarter to turn all three into double-digit losses. “We’re not playing good enough,” quarterback Matt Ryan told reporters of the late-game struggles. “That’s it, plain and simple, we’re not playing as well as we need to be playing. In order for us to win games, and win games in this league you have to finish games strong.” The Falcons are beginning a string of four straight contests outside of Atlanta - including a trip to London next week - and is 0-3 on the road.
ABOUT THE RAVENS (4-2): Baltimore was up 38-0 at the half at Tampa Bay last week and has beaten its two previous NFC South opponents (Carolina and the Buccaneers) by a combined 86-27. Flacco hit Torrey Smith with the first two TD passes against Tampa Bay, pulling the star wide receiver out of a slump that had seen him record one score in the first five contests. “(Smith’s) too good a player not to be making plays like that,” Harbaugh told reporters. “We knew it was just a matter of time.” All three of Smith’s TDs have come against NFC South foes.
1. Ryan had three TDs and no interceptions while winning his lone previous start against the Ravens.
2. Baltimore WR Steve Smith Sr. has three TD catches of 50-plus yards.
3. Atlanta WRs Julio Jones (ankle), Devin Hester (hamstring) and Harry Douglas (foot) were all limited in practice Thursday and are questionable for Sunday.
PREDICTION: Ravens 28, Falcons 24
Stats and Records
Baltimore Off vs