Atlanta Falcons (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date and Time: Sunday, October 19, 1:00pm EST
Where: M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, MD
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL +7/BAL -7
Over/Under Total: 49.5
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Sunday at 1:00pm, the Atlanta Falcons will travel to Baltimore to take on the birds of the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens. Just two years ago, these two teams nearly met in the Super Bowl but it was the Ravens that finished the drill beating the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans for the title. Since that time, the Falcons have been bad, really bad. They finished 4-12 in 2013 and now sit at 2-4 this season. Baltimore missed the post season last year, but appear to be back on track to make a playoff run while sitting at 4-2 overall. The Ravens are favored by a touchdown at home over the Falcons, and the total points are set at 49.5 points.
The Atlanta Falcons came into this season with high hopes. The Falcons offense is one of the most dangerous, but their offensive line and defense is a major letdown so far. Yes, the offensive line has had their share of injuries, but the defense is just flat out bad. Some experts have even said that this Falcons defense is the worst collection of defensive talent in the history of the NFL. That is a pretty bold statement, but the more we see them play, the more and more it seems to be true. This past Sunday, I made the mistake of picking the Falcons to beat the Bears at home. Well, not only did the defense fail, but the offense decided to play below standards too. The Falcons only scored one touchdown in their 27-13 loss to Chicago. Atlanta started out the season 2-1 and looked pretty solid, but now they have found themselves on a three game losing streak, and now in a MUST WIN situation headed to Baltimore. If Atlanta drops to 2-5, it is almost a done deal that not only will they miss the postseason for the second year in a row, but they will have a whole new coaching staff and front office for the 2015 season. The Falcons key to this game is to play some solid defense along with getting the offense back on track. Even with offensive letdowns against the Bengals and Bears this season, Matt Ryan and the Falcons still ranks 3rd in the NFL in passing yards as well as averaging over 100 yards a game on the ground. This past weekend against the Bears, the wide receiver group let down the offense. Julio Jones and Roddy White combined for 5 drops, and three of the drops were drive ending plays. This cannot happen against the Ravens or it will be a bad bad day for the Atlanta Falcons.
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The Baltimore Ravens appear to be back in business. After going just 8-8 last season, and missing the post season, the Ravens are now 4-2 in 2014 with a reeling Falcons team coming to town. A win for Baltimore and a 5-2 record would be a great start to the first half of this season. Statsitacally, Baltimore has looked good, real good. Led by Joe Flacco, the Ravens offense is averaging over 250 yards a game passing, and on the ground led by Justin Forsett, Baltimore has the 9th best rushing attack in the entire NFL. On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens do a great job of stopping the run, allowing just 90 yards a game. The pass defense is giving up over 270 per contest, but due to a solid run defense, this is not a damning stat. Teams are having to throw more to compensate for the lack of running yards. The key to this game for Baltimore is keep Matt Ryan and the offense off the field. Baltimore should have no problem scoring on this bad Falcons defense. The Ravens should be able to score at will, so there best bet is to slow the game down and complete long drives versus Atlanta.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Ravens are a seven point favorite at home over the Falcons. The history of this series is really interesting. Dating back to 1987, when the Ravens were still the Browns in Cleveland, the Falcons have only covered the spread once in those seven games. I hate basing my picks on history, especially history that dates back before most of today’s players were even born. Right now, over 60% of the action is on the Ravens. I believe this is partially due to the recent beatdown the Ravens put on Tampa, while the Falcons were at home losing to the Bears. I think Baltimore wins this game, but I think Atlanta, with their backs to the wall, come out and play hard and at least keep it close. I like Baltimore to win this game 26-23, with an Atlanta backdoor cover late in the game. PICK THE ATLANTA FALCONS +7!