Atlanta Falcons: Serious Issues That Must Be Resolved

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The Atlanta Falcons Must Be Wary of Ravens’ Big-Play Ability 

Old division foe WR Steve Smith having a banner year for his new team. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

It would be easy to dismiss Baltimore’s stunning offensive display last week against the moribund Buccaneers of Tampa Bay, but they’ve been hitting big plays virtually all season long.

An old Falcons adversary from his days as a Carolina Panther, current Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has 9 explosive plays this year.  Three of those have gone for touchdowns of 50+ yards this season.  The 35-year old WR had that many during his last five years wearing a Panthers jersey, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Baltimore is first in the NFL with 9 rushes of 20+ yards, and the Ravens are tied for the league lead with 2 rushing plays going for at least forty yards.  Justin Forsett has certainly turned some heads after taking over the lead running back role in the wake of Ray Rice’s suspension.  He is tied with Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray to lead the NFL with 6 runs of at least 20 yards, and he’s all alone at the top of the league with 2 rushes of 40+ yards.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco is in on the act, too.  On 396 plays, Baltimore has 12 pass plays of 25 yards or more, according to the website Sporting Charts.  Baltimore has the second-best explosive-play rate in the NFL at 9.6 %.

The Falcons defense has had a lot to chew on during game prep this week.