NFL

Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons Free Pick- 8/15/13

Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons Free Pick- 8/15/13
2013-08-15 06:30:00 EDT

The Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons face off on Thursday Night in Baltimore in a week 2 preseason battle of perennial playoff teams.

The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl Champs but with a different look the expectations have been lowered. The anticipated demise of the Ravens might be premature as we saw in their week one blowout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. QB Joe Flacco saw limited action last week but went 7 of 9 for 57 yards and a touchdown giving way to Tyrod Taylor who completed 13 of 23 passes with two touchdowns. Ray Rice carried the ball three times as did Bernard Pierce who scored a touchdown but was also injured and Damien Berry and Anthony Allen each averaged 3.4 yards per carry. Visanthe Schaincoe led the Ravens receivers with three catches, Torrey Smith had two catches, and LaQuan Williams had two catches and a touchdown as Baltimore spread the ball around. Defensively the Ravens allowed just 273 yards as Terrell Suggs played sparingly as did Elvis Dumervil and Daryl Smith led all Ravens with five tackles and Marc Anthony, Brandon Williams, and Nigel Carr each had four tackles.

The Atlanta Falcons are hopeful that preseason games are as meaningless as they have always been as they were blasted by the Cincinnati Bengals in week 1. Matt Ryan went 6 for 9 passing for 89 yeards but Dominique Davis was an ineffective 8 for 19 and Sean Renfree was 2 of 4. Steven Jackson averaged an unimpressive .16 yards per carry and Jacquizz Rodgers averaged 2.8 yards as the Falcons running game continued to look lifeless. With Juilo Jones and Roddy White not being factors Jason Snelling led Atlanta pass catchers with three catches while Drew Davis, Darius Johnson, and Chase Coffman each had two catches. The Falcons defense allowed 434 yards including 230 on the ground and Paul Worrilow led all tacklers with 12, Pat Schiller had five and we saw limited action from Osi Omemyiora, Akeem Dent, Thomas DeCoud, and most of the starters.

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Both of these team know what they are all about and they have little to gain outside of getting the depth chart some experience and trying out a few new wrinkles in the preseason and I would expect little more from them. With the Ravens not getting much respect it was important for them to send a message in their first game and they did that but here it may be more important for the Falcons to rebound.

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Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Atlanta Falcons +3.5
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Mitch Wilson

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