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Ravens Must Win the Turnover Battle Against the Falcons

November 30, 2018 - 11:03 am

By Joe Schiller

Last Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, the Baltimore Ravens accomplished something they hadn’t done since Week 7.

Force a turnover.

Matt Judon’s strip-sack on Derek Carr was returned by 43 yards by Terrell Suggs for a touchdown in Baltimore’s 34-17 win but a stat that’s usually in favor of a Ravens defense hasn’t been the case this season.

In 2017, the Ravens led the NFL in takeaways with 34, totaling 22 interceptions and 12 fumbles. This season, they rank 29th tied with Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 8 (5 interceptions and 3 fumbles).

A pivotal matchup against the Atlanta Falcons awaits this weekend and if the Ravens want to come out with a win on the road, they must win the turnover battle.

The Falcons have quickly fallen out of playoff contention this season but still pose a major threat at 4-7. They possess an offense with a former MVP quarterback and true wide receiver threats in Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and rookie Calvin Ridley.

And while Dan Quinn’s team has turned the ball over just 12 times this season, the Falcons showed their susceptibility to those mistakes during a Thanksgiving matchup against the Saints – a blueprint the Ravens should follow.

Four total turnovers – fumbles from Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, along with an interception thrown by Ryan limited the Falcons to just 17 points in the loss. The high-powered offense has been held to under 20 points during their current three-game losing streak.

The Ravens have a defense capable of forcing turnovers. They showed it last season, forcing five turnovers in three separate games. We’ve seen flashes this season when Marcus Mariota was sacked a franchise-record 11 times in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

The entire starting defense has returned and it begins with getting pressure on Matt Ryan through the likes of Matt Judon, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith.

There’s a formula to combatting potent offenses and the Ravens have the tools do it by keeping them off the field by relying on the run game and forcing turnovers.

Keeping Matt Ryan comfortable in the pocket at home in Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a recpie for disaster.