Baltimore Ravens vs Atlanta Falcons: Story Lines to Watch


Aug 15, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Atlanta Falcons helmet awaits use during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Every time the Baltimore Ravens play, it’s a story. At 4-2 and in good position in the AFC North race, the Ravens will continue to become more of a story if they continue to win.

This week features plenty of juicy story lines, despite the fact that this is an inter-conference game, as the Ravens and Falcons have some interesting connections and match ups. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Who is better, Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan?

Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan have been linked since the duo was drafted in 2008. Both teams are probably happy to have selected the quarterback they did, but one can’t help but ask which one turned out better?

Statistically, the answer is Matt Ryan. He puts up absurd passing numbers week in and week out, he is a darling of advanced stat hounds, and he has shown an innate ability to lead his team in the fourth quarter.

Joe Flacco, on the other hand, has never been more than average statistically, yet he continues to lead his team to wins, both regular season and playoff. Flacco and Ryan are pretty close in terms of regular season wins, but Flacco has nine playoff wins to Ryan’s one. That matters.

For me, there is no question. Flacco elevates his game on the grandest stages, and Ryan has faltered under the spotlight. The Falcons can keep their pretty passing stats. The Ravens will keep their ring and nine playoff wins since 2008.

Matt Ryan versus the 27th-ranked passing defense in the NFL

That the Ravens’ secondary has struggled this season is no secret. They stepped up their game in a big way against Andrew Luck and the Colts, so can they do the same against Matt Ryan and the NFL’s third-ranked passing offense?

Obviously, Ryan and the Falcons are going to produce. There is no world in which the Ravens can shut down the Falcons completely, so holding them to around 250 yards and locking down the red zone would be a big win.

Of course, as good as Andrew Luck and the Colts are, the Ravens have not played a receiver like Julio Jones since A.J. Green in Week 1. Remember how that went? Green caught the game-winning touchdown over Chykie Brown. Julio Jones can wreak similar havoc.

Ravens fans always pay close attention to the secondary. Expect the press to do the same this week.