Well, the Falcons couldn’t get it done against New Orleans this past week. Atlanta turned the ball over three times in the red zone. That can’t happen, especially against such a high octane offense. The Falcons haven’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, but you can basically put the season on ice. They now have their 2nd to last home game against one of the best defenses in the league. We could be in for a long day. Let’s take a look at what you need to know ahead of the game.
Matt Ryan leads the league in passing yards and is top ten in passing touchdowns. He has already surpassed his entire 2017 total in passing touchdowns and is just 412 passing yards away from his 2017 total. Per PFF Ryan was the 2ndrated quarterback last season. Last season statistically was one of Ryan’s worst years, but this year he is back on track, putting up eerily similar stats to his MVP campaign. Through eleven games Ryan has more passing yards, a better completion percentage, and less interceptions than he did in 2016, when he won the MVP. Ryan and company will have their hands full this week with the Ravens defense.
The Falcons face a very tough test this Sunday against the Ravens defense. The Ravens are only allowing 295.4 total yards per game this season. That leads the league. They have surrendered 198 total points this year, good for just 18 points per game. Also, the best in the league. They are allowing 4.7 yards per play, best in the league. You can see the trend here. The Ravens have arguably one of the best defenses in the league this season. Atlanta’s first four games at home they were averaging 35 points per game, but over their last two games at home they are only averaging 21 points per game. Will the offense be able to get back on track?
The beginning of the season it seemed like every week a new player landed in IR. Unfortunately over the course of the season two of those injuries were the starting right and left guards. Starting center, Alex Mack, and starting left tackle, Jake Matthews have had solid play this year. However starting left tackle, Ryan Schraeder, has struggled. Wes Schweitzer and Ben Garland have filled the void for the two starting guards, for now.
Matt Ryan has been sacked 33 times this season and is on pace to be sacked the most in his career. Through the entire month of November no quarterback was hit more times than Ryan. Despite being hit 32 times in just November alone, Ryan has posted the 2nd best passer rating in the league under pressure, 94.4. In a press conference earlier this week Dan Quinn hinted at a potential change along the offensive line, but wouldn’t go into detail. Will the Falcons switch it up along the line this week? More importantly, if they do, will it help keep Ryan from being hit and have a positive impact on the run game?
This season has been rough, to say the least. Atlanta is 0-3 against the AFC North this season. Hopefully we can say they are 1-3 after this week, but the Ravens defense is a force. Atlanta’s offense has shown promise this year, but have struggled finishing close games. With the Falcons season playoff hopes likely over will Deion Jones back back this week? Will the offensive line get a shake up? A few things to keep an eye on as the week progresses.