Baltimore Ravens (6-2, 2-2 away) vs Atlanta Falcons (6-2, 4-0 home) @ Georgia Dome on Sportsnet, 8:00 PM ET
Reason To Watch: The return of NFL Football on Thursday Night is glorious. Rarely in years past did we get the privilege of having one of the weeks best game on Thursday. History would suggest that on Thursday Night the home team is at a huge advantage cause the opposition is on a short week, with closer travel days and less time to prepare for their next opponent.
Tonight features the best of the AFC versus arguably the best in the NFC ( Atlanta is probably the most solid team in the NFC, but the New York Giants are definitely playing the best football right now).
Falcons have won 13 straight home games when QB Matt Ryan starts, Ryan is 17-1 all time at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons offense has been clicking on all cylinders averaging 370 yards of offense per game. The run game continues to be the focal point of the offense with RB Michael Turner (694 yards, 5 TD) averaging outstanding 4.5 yards per carry.
Receiver Roddy White (796 yards, 5 TD) is listed as questionable for tonight’s game, White ranks second in receptions and yards in 2010 and is well on his way to his fourth 80+ reception season. White has totaled at least 1,100 yards in each of those years.
The Ravens defense has held the opposition under 85 rushing yards for the third time in five games Sunday. With Ed Reed back at safety, the Ravens are looking like serious Super Bowl contenders.
DT Haloti Ngata is getting MVP consideration from writers like Peter King and such, certainly the Falcons offensive line is going to have their hands full tonight with the 6-4 350 lbs. behemoth. Ngata has 43 tackles on the year (32 of them solo) and five sacks on the year. While five sacks might not seem like a lot, but when you consider that Ngata plays in a 3-4 defense, where his main job is too demand a double team to allow linebackers like Ray Lewis make the hits, Ngata still breaks thru double teams and makes plays.
Just to compare those numbers to another player who plays in a similar 3-4 defense and is a Pro Bowler, Vince Wilfork of the Patriots has 26 tackles (20 solo) with zero sacks, and is probably on his way to his third Pro Bowl.
Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin could put up huge numbers tonight against a Flacon’s secondary that’s really struggled all year.