I’m excited. Why shouldn’t I be? National TV, two teams playing for the top record in the NFL, with the game sure to be a doozie. Each team has their third-year quarterback, their top-notch running back, their star wide receiver, solid offensive and defensive lines, and very legitimate defenses. Basically, they’re good.
The bright lights are on, the NFL Network cameras are rolling, and the Ravens and Falcons have the NFL abuzz. Read on for a preview of what could be the NFL’s best matchup of the season thus far.
What To Watch For:
- The performance of Ray Rice: Against a Falcons defense that possesses a good amount of talent in the secondary, Joe Flacco could use all the help he can get from Rice. If Rice gets on a roll, it will help Flacco see more one-on-one coverage with his receivers, and help set up the play action pass.
- The Ravens’ cornerbacks against Roddy White: Roddy White has been the NFL’s top wide receiver this season. While Brandon Lloyd has about 100 more receiving yards, White has 16 more receptions than Lloyd, and has not been the beneficiary of some bad coverage from opponents. For the Ravens to keep the Falcons off the board, which is what they need to do in order to win, Lardarius Webb and Co. need to step their game up and shut down White. Ed Reed can’t do all the work back there.
- The kicking game. Billy Cundiff’s been stellar this year. As an opponent of his being named starter, I get a little bit surprised whenever I admit to that, but it’s true. He’s been the rock this team has sat on this season, and his consistency needs to continue tonight in a hostile environment. I’m sure he’ll be relied on for a field goal or five, and his kickoffs will need to be as good as they’ve been all year.
As you can tell from those three points, I’m extremely passionate about the Ravens showing a sense of urgency tonight. With a win, they establish themselves as the best in the NFL, and continue to keep their destiny in their own hands when it comes down to the playoff situation. When you really take all things into consideration, the Falcons are a top-notch team with all the pieces in place to be championship contenders. With that said, the Ravens have a better squad overall, and are deeper at pretty much every position on the field. At home, I would be a little bit more comfortable, but winning in Atlanta is tough, especially at night when the game will be on national TV.
This game will be great. I can feel it now. There will be times when the teams exchange quick scores, and times when both teams are struggling for yards. I feel like the quarterbacks will both come up big at certain times, and that this game will definitely live up to the hype. 27-24, Ravens. While I don’t think it’ll be a field goal as time expires, I think this game’s result will be determined late in the fourth quarter.