Will Suggs, Ravens ferocious defense get to “Matty Ice” in time?
“It’s a disadvantage if you allow it to be. If you sit back and say, ‘We’re tired and we got to play on such a short week,’ then you’re setting yourself up for failure. We saw the schedule when it came out. We knew what was ahead of us. We knew it was coming.”
—Wide receiver Derrick Mason on playing two games in five days.
Opponent: Atlanta Flacons
Stadium: Georgia Dome
Head Coach: Mike Smith
Thursday Night Football:
An offensive shoot-out at the Dome?
A quick turnaround for the Ravens (6-2) as they travel to Atlanta for the NFL’s Thursday night football. The Falcons offensive, playing at a high level, is lead by quarterback Matt Ryan and their explosive receiver Roddy White, along with their powerful running back Michael Turner. The Ravens offensive unit is also playing well and Joe Flacco has been the difference maker getting the ball to his playmakers consistently. This could be a high scoring affair.
Atlanta is a balanced team lead by QB Matt Ryan who is simply playing at a high level. The running game features Michael Turner, power back with deceptive speed. The Ravens secondary will also have to play their best, as Atlanta has the speedy wide out Roddy White and future HOF Tight End Tony Gonzalez. TE Tony Gonzalez’ “85 career touchdown catches rank tied for 12th in NFL history and his 1,026 career catches rank sixth all time.”
Defensively Atlanta ranks in the top eight at stopping the run led by MLB Curtis Lofton (nearly 60 combined tackles), rookie OLB Sean Witherspoon and OLB Stephen Nicholas. Where they struggle is pass defense, ranked 27 in pass yardage, 260.3 yards per game.
Ray Lewis vs. RB Michael Turner: The Ravens run defense has not been as dominant as they would like to be. Ray Lewis will be keeping an eye on Atlanta’s featured running back.
CB Fabian Washington/CB Josh Wilson vs. WR Roddy White: This might be the toughest match-up for the Ravens secondary so far this year. White is an explosive receiver and he has developed great timing with Matt Ryan.
FS Ed Reed vs. QB Matt Ryan: Reed is probably the healthiest he’s been in quite some time. Atlanta’s passing game is potent and Reed will be a key in slowing it down.
LB Jameel McClain/CB Chris Carr vs. TE Tony Gonzales: Atlanta’s Pro Bowl (future HOF) tight end must be contained. The Ravens might try a nickel package in order for a defensive back to cover.
RB Ray Rice vs. MLB Curtis Lofton: Rice had a huge game last week and he will draw a lot of attention from Atlanta. Lofton is the leading tackler on his team’s defense.
WR Anquan Boldin vs. CB Dunta Robinson: Atlanta’s cornerback is aggressive and this might play into the hands of Boldin.
OLB Terrell Suggs vs. LT Sam Baker: Until the Ravens can get pressure from the other end of the defensive line, expect Suggs to see a lot of double teams.
Ravens Pass Protection vs. Atlanta’s D-line: The Ravens offensive line struggled a bit in Sunday’s game versus Miami allowing 3 sacks. Atlanta does bring the heat from time to time, the Ravens offense needs to make adjustments to protect Flacco.
WHO MAKES THE HIGHLIGHT FILM:
Jonathon Scruggs: Ray Rice
“The Ravens faced a very tough Dolphins defense on Sunday. If they are to keep momentum rolling against the Atlanta Falcons, they are going to have to get Ray Rice going early and often. The running game will factor very large in the game plan this week.”
Matt Jergensen: Ray Lewis
“The Ravens need to slow Micheal Turner who has been on fire lately. If they can make the Falcons one dimensional it will improve their chances greatly of taking this one on the road. Lewis had eight tackles last Sunday but he missed several as well. They need another big game from their future HOF this Thursday.”
Gene Winner: Anquan Boldin
“The Falcons are a good team, but if they have any weakness it is their secondary. Look for Boldin to be a part of the offensive game plan.”
Coach Mike Smith: In 2002, Smith served as the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens. The Falcons are 17-3 (.842) at the Georgia Dome under Falcons coach Mike Smith, the league’s second-highest winning percentage at home in the last three seasons. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/atl/report