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Atlanta has been the most exciting team to watch in 2012.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has ushered in a new wave of Atlanta Falcons football in which the offense actually lives up to the preseason hype it’s been given.
Matt Ryan leads the NFL with a 112.1 passer rating and ranks second with 11 touchdown passes—surprisingly behind only Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Atlanta’s pass defense has been pretty solid with the exception of last Sunday’s win over Carolina.
The Falcons are ninth in the NFL in passing yards allowed and have given up only four passing touchdowns. By hovering nine players near the line of scrimmage, the Falcons’ defense has confused and shut down quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning.
On the other hand, the Ravens’ defense has only given up two passing touchdowns and allowed only 3.2 yards per carry.
The story of the season for Baltimore, though, is its fourth-ranked passing attack.
Joe Flacco is third in the NFL with 1,269 passing yards, and Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin both have at least 240 receiving yards.
The no-huddle offense has proved exceptional for the Ravens, as they average more than 30 points per game.
Keys to the Matchup
How will Baltimore's pass defense fare against Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ passing game?
Baltimore has allowed at least 300 yards passing to Michael Vick, Tom Brady and even Brandon Weeden in their past three games.
The Ravens rank 29th with 1,183 passing yards allowed. Ryan and the Falcons’ wide receivers form the NFL's best passing attack.
The way the Ravens’ defense is playing right now, I expect Ryan to tear them apart.
Then there is Atlanta's rush defense against Ray Rice. The Falcons has been as bad against the rush as the Ravens have been against the pass.
They also rank 29th in the league and have allowed 585 yards, 5.2 yards per carry.
The Ravens’ new offense has not utilized Rice in the ground game as much as in previous years. Still, in 64 carries, Rice has averaged 5.0 yards per touch and scored three touchdowns.
The Ravens will yield to the Falcons’ passing attack and watch this game slowly slip out of reach.
Prediction: Atlanta 31, Baltimore 17