X-factor: Who will change the game, Calvin Ridley or D.J. Moore?

Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Carolina wide receiver D.J. Moore are forever linked. Both could be the X-factor in the rematch.

The Panthers selected Moore with the 24th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Two picks later, the Falcons selected Ridley. Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst was selected 25th by the Ravens.

Moore has played in 38 games and Ridley in 36, so there is a nice sample size of games to compare the two wide receivers.

Although both teams are pleased, Ridley appears to have a slight edge.

Ridley has 167 catches of 249 targets (67.1%) for 2,302 yards and 23 touchdowns. With his 3-yard touchdown catch against the Lions, Ridley surpassed Andre Rison for the most touchdown receptions (23) through a player’s first three seasons in franchise history.

Moore has caught 173 of 270 targets (64.1%) for 2,530 yards and nine touchdowns.

While Moore has Ridley in yards, Ridley catches more of his targets and has doubled Moore’s scoring output.

Ridley’s advantage may be that he’s had one quarterback in Matt Ryan, while Moore started with Cam Newton, had Kyle Allen for most of his second season and has Teddy Bridgewater this season.

Ridley has impressed Ryan.

“There’s one for me that’s probably off the radar,” Ryan said when asked if a one Ridley catch stands out for him. "It was in a tough loss in the season opener up in Minnesota last year, but he caught a touchdown on the left side of the field.

"Just his ability to track the ball – I kind of threw a floater. He was in front of a defender, used his speed to get behind the defender and track the ball. I think that shows just how elite his speed is and his ability to track down a ball.

“The other one I think is a touchdown he had against Houston last year toe-tapping on the sideline. That shows his body awareness. Sorry it’s not just one, but those are two that come to mind for me.”

Moore had a long of 82 yards as a rookie, and he caught a 74-yard touchdown last week against the Saints. Of course, he helped to torch the Falcons with a 57-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the Falcons' 23-16 loss on Oct. 11.

“D.J. is doing a great job,” Carolina coach Matt Rhule said. “He’s got elite speed and he’s got great ball skills. I think the thing that is happening is that (wide receiver) Robby (Anderson) is having a great year. Curtis Samuels is doing a great job. Really, those three guys complement each other.”

Falcons' next four games

Falcons at Panthers at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

Broncos at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Bye Week

Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22

Las Vegas Raiders at Falcons at 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 29

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