The stakes are high here - the winner of this ‘battle of the birds’ is guaranteed to be at least tied for the best record in the league by the end of the weekend’s games. Since they play in opposite leagues there is always a chance that this could be a Super Bowl preview.
Besides the generally strong play of both teams, these teams have one obvious thing in common - they are both led by emerging star quarterbacks that were picked in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2008.
This is the first time that Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan have met on the field, though far from the first time that they have been compared to each other. It’s really amazing how similar they have been so far in their careers - Flacco is 26-14 for his carer with a 85.8 QB rating, while Ryan is 26-12 with an 85.7, and both guys have 30 career interceptions.
Both guys are impressive, but for my money I’d take Flacco. He has more potential, and he has been very strong since Week 3 - 11 touchdowns, just one interceptions, and a league-best QB rating of 108.6. There’s one area in which is it very hard to argue with what Ryan has done, though - his 17-1 record at home is incredible.
Both teams come into this game with the shortest rest of any team all season since this is the first Thursday night game (since the season opener). Both teams face the same challenge, though, so the impact of that could easily be overstated.
What can’t be overstated, though, is how interesting one particular matchup will be - Baltimore hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in five games, and have held their opponents to less than 85 yards three times in that stretch, while Atlanta’s Michael Turner has topped 100 yards in the last two games and four times in the last six. Whichever team comes out on top of that showdown will have a big edge in the game.
Ravens vs. Falcons Betting Odds and Line Movement
The game is very tight. Atlanta opened as favorites, but by less than the typical home field advantage - they are favored by just one point. The line has been stable at that level, and isn’t showing signs of moving significantly from that point. Almost two-thirds of bets have been on the Ravens. The total isn’t showing significant movement, either - it opened at 43.5 and is still available there or at 44 depending on the source.
Ravens vs. Falcons Betting Trends
The ‘under’ is firing at an impressive 9-1-1 rate in Baltimore’s last 11 road games. The ‘under’ has gone 7-3-1 for Atlanta in their last 11 games as favorites of three points or less. The ‘over’ is 5-2 in Atlanta’s last seven games overall, though.
Baltimore is 18-6-2 ATS in their last 26 games as road underdog of three points or less. They are 3-1-2 ATS in their last six as road underdogs, and 3-1-1 ATS in their last five overall.
Atlanta is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games when favored by less than three points, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 as home favorites.
Ravens vs. Falcons NFL Picks and Predictions
I’m generally impressed by the Falcons - especially in the last five games. They may be the class of the NFC by the time this is all done. They are obviously a very tough team at home as well.
Still, I am going with the Ravens here. Baltimore is coming off their best game of the year, and are getting strong offensive play and strong run defense.
Atlanta has four home wins, but none are particularly impressive - they come against Arizona, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Tampa Bay. Their two toughest opponents have been Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and they have lost both games. I don’t think Atlanta responds very well when they get punched in the mouth, and the Ravens will be punching early and often.
Atlanta’s defense has been unable to stop anyone the last few weeks, and Baltimore’s has been inconsistent. Both offenses are playing well. That all makes me lean to the ‘over’.
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