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Baltimore Ravens vs. Atlanta Falcons: 5 Key Matchups to Watch

December 01, 2018 - 2:14 pm

By Joe Schiller

Gus Edwards vs. Falcons’ Front-Seven

Over the past two games, Gus Edwards has taken over the starting running back role and ran with it, literally. The undrafted rookie rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders, averaging 5.8 yards per carry during that span.

A depleted Falcons’ defense offers a favorable matchup. They’ve given up 123.7 yards on the ground this season but return speedy linebacker Deion Jones. Inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the turf should provide an ample opportunity for Edwards to continue his impressive production.

However, given his physical north-south running style, I’ll be interested to see if he can sustain a similar workload.


Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley vs. Ravens’ Corners

Since the loss of star running back Devonta Freeman in Week 5, the Falcons have been primarily a one-dimensional team. That typically serves as a positive notion for opposing defenses but Matt Ryan and the offense have a three-headed monster at receiver with Jones, Sanu and Ridley.

All three have totaled at least 500 yards and three touchdowns. Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey face their toughest matchup this season in my opinion.

Jones is a receiver capable of breaking out for a 200-yard game on any given Sunday. Ridley, a player many Ravens fans wanted in Baltimore, has eight touchdowns in his rookie campaign while Sanu is a threat in the slot.


Brandon Williams vs. Alex Mack

Injuries have eviscerated the Falcons’ depth chart this season but Alex Mack is seemingly the glue holding a banged up offensive line together. He’s ranked by Pro Football Focus as the fifth best center in the league but this is a matchup the Ravens can take advantage of.

Atlanta is without starting guards Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, both who were lost to injured reserve this season. Williams had success stalling Doug Martin and the Raiders’ run game last week and should have a similar performance.


Ty Montgomery vs. Deion Jones

When it comes to pass-catching the running backs, the Falcons are the best matchup for opposing offenses. They have allowed a league-high 96 receptions and 838 receiving yards running backs this year. Not Gus Edwards but Ty Montgomery is the player that should hopefully take advantage of this stat.

Montgomery had his best game last Sunday since being dealt to Baltimore from Green Bay on the trade deadline. He finished with three catches and eight carries for 84 total yards. He’ll come up against the Falcons’ best linebacker, Deion Jones, who returns to the field since suffering a broken foot in the team’s season-opener.

As a former receiver, Montgomery offers the best pass-catching ability out of the backfield and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him find the end zone, especially if Jones struggles to adjust back to game speed.


C.J. Mosley vs. Austin Hooper

The Falcons’ receiving threats stem past the three receivers mentioned above. Tight end Austin Hooper is a player Don Martindale and the Baltimore defense will key on. Hooper’s totaled 476 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 55 receptions and a trusted target for Matt Ryan.