Baltimore Ravens (6-2 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) at Atlanta Falcons (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS), Week 10 NFL, Georgia Dome (Field Turf), Atlanta Georgia, Thursday November 11, 2010, 8:20 PM Eastern, TV: NFL Network
Jeff Hochman of JHSportsline.com
Betting Odds: Balt +1/Atl -1
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The leaders of the AFC North and NFC South meet in the first Thursday Night game of the season. This is one of the tougher games left on the schedule for both squads, and both teamshave charging division contenders to hold off. We all get to watch a good one on Thursday when the Baltimore Ravens travel South for a week nine matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Which team will improve to 7-3 and which team will drop to 6-3. Lets take a look!
The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Dolphins 26-10, as 5-point home favorites. Joe Flacco completed 20-of-27 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens, who are 6-0 at home since 2001 after their BYE week. The Ravens won their seventh straight home game behind kicker Billy Cundiff, and a defense that blanked Miami after halftime. Cundiff connected from 26, 39, 20 and 24 yards, and the Ravens limited the Dolphins to 24 yards rushing over the final 30 minutes. Baltimore out-gained Miami 402-289 and the defense forced three Miami turnovers.
Atlanta defeated their NFC South division rival Tampa Bay 27-21, as 9.5-point home favorites. Michael Turner rushed for 107 yards with two early touchdowns, and the Falcons improvised after Roddy White left the game with a knee injury. Tony Gonzalez had eight catches for 72 yards, and undrafted rookie Michael Palmer scored his first career touchdown. But, it was all about Michael Turner and the offensive line. He was able to attack the Bucs defensive front regardless of how many defenders were thrown into the box. Against 8+ defenders in the box Turner averaged 4.3 yards per rush and against 7 or less he managed 4.6. Matt Ryan won his 13th straight game at home and improved to 17-1 in Atlanta for his career.
The Ravens and Falcons are almost mere images of each other on offense and special teams. Baltimore is averaging 348 yards per game good for 21.9 points, while the Falcons average 370 good for 24.5 points per game. When these two teamsplay you will be witnessing the No. 3rd ranked Special Teams units (Baltimore) going against the No. 4th ranked Special Teams units (Atlanta). The Ravens are 6-2 ITS (in the stats) while the Falcons are 5-3 ITS through the first eight weeks.
Joe Flacco has been improving his play as the season has progressed. He has thrown for 1,917 yards while completing 60.8% of his passes. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes and has been picked off six times. Flacco’s QB rating is up to 88.9, which is the highest it has been all season. Matt Ryan has thrown for 1,949 yards, while completing 62.5 of his passes. He has thrown 13 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Ryan’s QB rating is also on the rise at 90.2 through eight weeks.
On defense, the Ravens are allowing less yardage but the Falcons have one of the best red zone defenses in the NFC. They do allow yardage but do a great job of forcing teams to try a field goal. Baltimore is allowing 310 yards per game good for 17.4 points against, while the Falcons allow 346 yards per game good for 19.2 points against.
Keep in mind the Ravens defense is a top-ten unit across the board, while the Falcons have struggled to stop the pass. They are ranked No. 26th in the league up from the past two years, but do still present an opportunity for Joe Flacco to put up some numbers. The Dirty Birds do have the league’s sixth-best rushing defense, which would get a big boost from the return of Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
The last time these two teams met in a regular season game was back in 2006. The Ravens won that day by a score of 24-10, as 3.5-point home chalk. Michael Vick and the late Steve McNair were the quarterbacks so a lot has changed since that game. (RIP)
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Baltimore’s last 9 games. The total has gone OVER in 5 of Atlanta’s last 7 games. Baltimore is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games. Atlanta is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games.
The Ravens are 7-4 SU and 8-1 ATS as road underdogs of 3 points or less over the last three seasons. The Falcons are 11-5 SU and 11-5 ATS when the line is -3 to +3. Atlanta is 4-1 ATS when playing on Thursday.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Baltimore Ravens +1 & Over 42.5 points.
Seems like a trap line to me. Both teams have the same record and the Falcons are just 1-point home chalk. The Odds-makers are just begging the public to take the home team. The Ravens defense will force the Falcons into some mistakes and Flacco should have success against a shaky Falcons’ secondary. Take the Ravens and Over!