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Ravens-Falcons: Five predictions for Sunday

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Ravens-Falcons: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 18 October 2014 by Luke Jones

Facing an opponent that’s moving in the wrong direction for the second straight week, the Ravens should feel good about their return home to play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

Baltimore has a chance to improve to 5-2 with critical road games looming against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the next two weeks while the Falcons have dropped three straight and could find themselves out of the NFC South race if they don’t turn around a 2-4 start quickly. Atlanta is 0-3 on the road and has lost those games by an average margin of 12.3 points with a defense that ranks 31st in the NFL.

Meanwhile, the Ravens offense sits in the top 10 in most categories and the Baltimore defense has allowed only 16.2 points per game, good for third in the league through the first six weeks of the 2014 season. The Ravens secondary will also have the services of free safety Will Hill after he was activated on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see how the former New York Giant is worked into the defense in his first action of 2014.

Sunday marks the fifth time these teams have met in their regular-season history with the Ravens and Falcons each owning two wins. Atlanta won the last game between these teams in a 26-21 thriller at the Georgia Dome on Nov. 11, 2010.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to begin the season 5-2 for the fourth time under head coach John Harbaugh …

1. Both Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan throw for over 300 yards in a battle of 2008 first-round draft picks. The Falcons have allowed 24 or more points in five of their six games this season and are allowing 277.7 passing yards per game and will now face Flacco, who is coming off a career-high five touchdown passes in last week’s win at Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s passing game hasn’t had problems this season in ranking third in the NFL. The debate between Flacco and Ryan — the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2008 draft — has become a tired one as the former enjoys a clear edge in postseason success while the latter puts up better fantasy numbers, but both should have strong afternoons against less-than-stellar secondaries.

2. Justin Forsett goes over the 100-yard rushing mark for the second straight week. You keep waiting for some semblance of a market correction for the 29-year-old running back, but he keeps shredding opposing run defenses to the tune of 6.4 yards per carry. Flacco will have a strong day to give the Ravens a lead in the second half, which will open the door for Forsett and his fellow backfield mates to gain big yardage. With James Hurst and John Urschel expected to be blocking the blindside again, Forsett will continue to receive extensive reps due to his pass-blocking ability and that will lead to him receiving more carries than Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro.

3. Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi will be a rare standout in an otherwise listless pass rush. A second straight week of starting two rookies on the left side of the offensive line will make Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak nervous, but the Falcons haven’t been able to put any consistent heat on quarterbacks this season. The one player who’s offered something as a rusher has been Massaquoi, who leads Atlanta with two sacks and has graded out as one of the better outside pass rushers in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. He’ll beat Hurst to pick up a sack at some point, but the Ravens should have few problems keeping Flacco upright as long as they shade help to the left side and he’s quick in getting rid of the ball.

4. With Jimmy Smith locked on Julio Jones, Atlanta wideout Roddy White will catch a touchdown and pick up 85 receiving yards. There’s no reason to think Smith won’t shadow Jones, who already has 44 catches and 620 receiving yards (third in the NFL) through six games. However, White is still a receiver to be careful with and it’s difficult to feel too confident in the rest of the Baltimore secondary as the Ravens rank 27th in pass defense. The addition of Hill gives the Ravens an intriguing option to work in at safety, but as long as Matt Elam continues to handle nickel duties, they’re vulnerable to giving up yards. White will be a thorn in the Ravens’ side while Smith holds Jones to a modest level of production for his high standards.

5. On a day when both offenses have success, the Ravens will make a few more defensive stops en route to a 34-20 win to improve to 5-2. Baltimore needs to be aware of the explosiveness of the Atlanta offense, but the Falcons are way too soft on defense to seriously threaten the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. In the only opportunity to play at home this month, the Ravens will take care of business and put themselves in great position as they face the Bengals and the Steelers in consecutive road games. Unlike last season, the Ravens are giving themselves some margin for error in terms of the playoff race and a relatively comfortable win over Atlanta will be the latest statement for the case that they’ll be playing in January.

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A 15-7-0 preview is just as good when enjoyed sideways

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A 15-7-0 preview is just as good when enjoyed sideways

Posted on 26 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

If you’re not familiar with the 15-7-0, go back and take a look at one from last season and quickly familiarize yourself. Every Monday during football season, I use GIF’s, memes, videos and a minimal amount of wit to recap the non-Ravens football weekend. There are 15 positive observations, seven not so positive observations and one zero identified from outside the world of football.

To my knowledge, it is the most popular, most read and most worthwhile column on the entire internet.

This won’t be a full 15-7-0. Instead, it will be teaser-so we’ll go halfsies. Eight positive observations, four not so positive observations and we’ll keep that zero from outside the world of football. We’re doing the preview this week because next Monday is Labor Day and I’ll be far too deep into U.S. Open tennis to bother with sports that aren’t as important.

Eight positive observations…

1. I assume Chris Johnson and Julio Jones raised their game a bit after finding out they were two of my first three fantasy picks for 2013.

I mean, I can’t imagine a greater honor than finding out you’re joining this squad right here.

They just look like champions. They probably smell like champions. Or Ben Gay. But I bet a lot of champions smell like Ben Gay. What do you think Ben Gay smelled like? I bet he smelled beautiful. Like daffodils or some sh*t just to be ironic.

2. Tavon Austin is really good at football and at pointing.

Being that we’re in Charm City, we already knew the first part-as did the folks hanging out in the woods out in Morgantown. The second part we didn’t learn until his punt return TD against the Broncos…

If he had pointed against Maryland last year he probably would have won the Heisman. Known fact-Heisman voters love pointers.

3. I don’t know who Edmund Nelson is, but I’m enjoying him enjoy his ribs.

Apparently he’s related to the Pittsburgh Steelers, so once he finishes his plate of ribs I’m totally going to start hating him.

4. Tony Romo was also really excited about learning he was joining my fantasy football team.

Romo threw 2TD’s in the Cowboys’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Also, this image of Domata Peko from pre-game introductions.

Also, Cowboys P Chris Jones hit the massive scoreboard on a punt and had to punt again. Brandon Tate returned it for a TD. Thanks, Obama.

5. College football coaches have been pretty damn awesome recently.

When not refusing to pick a quarterback, Lane Kiffin is delivering ice cream…

Rich Rodriguez is dancing off…

And Bo Pellini is pulling a pretty righteous prank…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3CnoA8wCEo

Meanwhile Ralph Friedgen is…I dunno…swimming in a pool filled with barbecue pork funded by Kevin Anderson’s money? Just spitballing here.

6. The Raiders are awful, but perhaps Terrelle Pryor would be worth watching?

I mean…maybe. I’m not saying anything for certain.

I’m just saying maybe.

7. The folks at NFL Films will put just about any idiot in a documentary, won’t they?

This year’s version of “America’s Game” celebrating the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens will air September 2nd at 9pm on NFL Network. For some reason, the league was freaking out trying to get a copy to me last week. When I popped it in Friday night, it wasn’t five minutes before I realized why.

I’m sorry. It wasn’t my call.

8. Credit Gilman with football’s first big upset for 2013.

Friday night’s opener aired live on ESPNNews and was a lot of fun to watch late. Of equal importance, Good Counsel DE Jesse Aniebonam committed to Maryland during the broadcast. #HeATerp

And elsewhere in High School Football, they’re running Statue of Liberty plays for TD’s at something called Apopka.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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