The Atlanta Falcons have been anything but consistent this season.  Starting out at 1-4 was clearly not their expectation. However, the team would right the ship so to speak, and get back to 4-4 with three straight wins. But Atlanta has dropped three straight and with a 4-7 record, the playoff hopes seem dismal.

The team is saying and doing the right things.  Knowing that the playoffs are slim to none at this point, Atlanta is just taking one game at a time.  In their last game versus the Saints, the Falcons had their opportunities to score, but three Red Zone turnovers made the game impossible to win, something you cannot do against the number one team in the NFL.

The Baltimore Ravens come in Mercedes-Benz Stadium winners of two straight correlating the change they made at Quarterback due to injury to starter Joe Flacco.  Rookie Lamar Jackson, former Heisman Winner from Louisville, has given the Raven offense a spark. He has used his legs a lot more than his arm in the two games he has started, but the offense has responded with 24 and 34 points respectively.  

“In some instances, not necessarily with the pass-rush but you better have a way for where he wants to scramble, push him into that direction, have another player that’s available for the quarterback, Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday. “You’d be surprised, even on the third-down there’s quite a bit of the run game that’s involved even during that time. It makes you go through the whole process even if it’s ruled that you have some option with him that you don’t have with Joe (Flacco).”

For the Falcons to win this game they must stop the run and make Lamar Jackson beat them with his arm.  He has show flashes of arm talent but like most dual threat QB’s, he relies on his legs to get him out of trouble.  Offensively, Atlanta must be more balanced. The Ravens Defense is still very formidable, nearly tops of the National Football League.  They must be able to run the football to neutralize the pass rush of the Ravens and to keep them off balance or else they will simply pin their ears back and go after Quarterback Matt Ryan.

“This quarterback just may be and this quarterback, but the system stays the same,” Quinn said when asked about the differences of Baltimore’s offense when Flacco is in compared to Jackson. “When you bring in a quarterback that has completely – not completely but let’s call it completely – a different set of skill sets where you feature options and different quarterback design runs, that’s a big difference. So almost to the fact that a team like New Orleans that used (Taysom) Hill some and that’s a quarterback for their wildcat package, I’m not going to call that with him because he’s there backup quarterback in the last couple of games or their starting quarterback, but what I can say is that you have to have two separate styles of plays based on whose in and that also goes when they play them both in the game together.

Kickoff is set for 1:00 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on CBS46. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will provide play-by-play and commentary.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, October 14, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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