Scouting report

October 03, 1999|By Mike Preston

Ravens run offense vs. Falcons run defense

The Ravens' offensive line has adapted well to the new offense, especially run blocking. If center Jeff Mitchell can block middle linebacker Jessie Tuggle enough to slow him down, guards Jeff Blackshear and Lindsay Everett and tackles Jonathan Ogden and Harry Swayne should be able to dominate Atlanta ends Lester Archambeau and Chuck Smith and tackles Travis Hall and Shane Dronett. Hall (thumb) and Smith (turf toe) aren't 100 percent and Dronett (calf) probably won't play. Errict Rhett could have a big day on cutback runs. - EDGE RAVENS

Ravens pass offense vs. Falcons pass defense

Are you kidding? Atlanta has the No. 13 pass defense in the league, and Ravens have the No. 27 pass offense. Cornerbacks Ray Buchanan and Ronnie Bradford should be able to smother receivers Qadry Ismail and Jermaine Lewis, and if they can't, they'll get plenty of support from safeties Marty Carter and Eugene Robinson. - EDGE FALCONS

Falcons run offense vs. Ravens run defense

Without feature back Jamal Anderson, the Falcons are averaging only 78.0 rushing yards a game. His replacement, Byron Hanspard, has 135 yards rushing on 39 attempts. The Ravens should be able to get strong inside pushes from tackles Larry Webster and Lional Dalton against guards Bob Hallen and Gene Williams, but the team will miss starting tackle Tony Siragusa, out with a knee injury. - EDGE RAVENS

Falcons pass offense vs. Ravens pass defense

Ravens cornerbacks Duane Starks, DeRon Jenkins and Chris McAlister have more athletic talent than Falcons receivers Chris Calloway and Terance Mathis, both possession-type receivers. Mathis was effective last year when opponents double-teamed Tony Martin on the other side, but he has had his problems. Even if they're open, Tony Graziani, who will probably start for the injured Chris Chandler, can't get them the ball. - EDGE EVEN

Special teams

The Falcons have one of the best kickoff returners in the game in Tim Dwight, but he'll probably miss the game with a hamstring injury. Atlanta's kickoff coverage team hasn't been that effective, allowing an average of 27.2 yards a return. The Ravens have two top returners who could play key roles. Jermaine Lewis is averaging 9.9 yards on punt returns, and Corey Harris is averaging 27.0 yards on kickoff returns. - EDGE RAVENS

Intangibles

The Ravens are trying to put together a mini-winning streak of two games. Atlanta, though, is trying to win its first game of the season after playing in the Super Bowl in January. The Falcons have played three tough teams: Minnesota, Dallas and St. Louis. The Ravens don't measure up, and the Falcons are at home. - EDGE FALCONS

Prediction

Though the Ravens currently have more talent, coach Brian Billick's West Coast offense won't get it done. Falcons, 14-10. - EDGE FALCONS

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