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Five stats that stand out ahead of Sunday's Ravens-Falcons game

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has shredded the NFC South. Atlanta probably won't be different.

Every Wednesday, I’ll serve up five stats you should know heading into that week’s Ravens game. This week’s stats, pertaining to Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, are heavy on why Joe Flacco and the Ravens pass rush might continue to be good Sunday, and why Atlanta could continue to look bad.

141.7 — That’s quarterback Joe Flacco’s passer rating in two games so far against the NFC South, including a home drubbing of the Carolina Panthers and a road romp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This division is typically very competitive, and looks to be again this year, so it’s no surprise that Atlanta is in the bottom third of the league with a 98.2 passer rating against. Flacco might be able to feast on the Falcons just as he did their divisional foes earlier this year.

.091 – The Falcons have posted a single road victory since the start of the 2013 season, good for a .091 road win percentage in that stretch, including five straight losses outside the Georgia Dome and three this season. Like their division rivals in New Orleans, the road woes are becoming a real trend, and with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco a career 12-1 at home against the NFC, that road winning percentage for Atlanta may not improve this week.

255 — According to the Falcons’ media notes, running back Antone Smith has a league-high 255 yards on his five touchdown plays this year — two on the ground, and three through the air. His shortest touchdown this season went for 38 yards. The fifth-year player hasn’t fully revitalized the Falcons’ running game, but he has provided a game-breaker out of the backfield that Steven Jackson and Michael Turner haven’t given Atlanta in years.

419 — The Ravens feasted on a Buccaneers defense that was ranked 30th in the NFL last week, and with a total of 419 yards allowed per game, the Falcons aren’t much better. That places them 29th overall in the league, with the run defense (141.3 YPG) 28th and pass defense (277.7 YPG) 29th. This might be billed as a matchup of two similar quarterbacks, but only one gets to go against a poor defense.

22 — According to Pro Football Focus, Atlanta tackles Gabe Carimi and Jake Matthews have allowed a combined 22 quarterback hurries in six games, or just under four per game. None of those pass rushes were anywhere near as dangerous as the Ravens’, which is getting Pro Bowl production from Elvis Dumervil, steady pressure from Terrell Suggs, and game-wrecker Pernell McPhee all over the field. Carimi is a first-round washout who has battled injuries and is on his third team in four seasons, while Matthews is a rookie who so far has more potential than current abilities. Both will have their hands full this week.

jmeoli@baltsun.com
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