Ravens at Falcons: 3 key matchups

Three key matchups

1. Falcons FB Ovie Mughelli vs. Ravens LB Ray Lewis: Mughelli played with the Ravens from 2003 to 2006 and knows the key to keeping Lewis from destroying the entire offensive operation. Mughelli wants to be considered for the Pro Bowl and knows that if he takes care of Lewis on national television with the rest of the league watching, his candidacy for Hawaii grows. The Falcons need to establish their power run game with Mughelli leading up in the hole and taking out Lewis.

2. Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. Ravens FS Ed Reed: Ryan is 17-1 in the Georgia Dome. Reed has three interceptions in two games since being activated from the physically unable to perform list. He had offseason hip surgery. Reed is a real student of the game and will understand the intricacies of the Falcons passing attack. Ryan doesn't plan to stay away from Reed, but will be determined and calculated when he challenges the six-time Pro Bowler. Ryan has completed 62.5 percent of his passes and has thrown just five interceptions over 288 attempts this season.

3. Falcons LG Justin Blalock and LT Sam Baker vs. Ravens DE Haloti Ngata: The Ravens will move their linemen around and come with some bizarre blitz packages. Ngata, who has five sacks, will slide inside and line up over Blalock on some plays or will flex out at defensive end and align over Baker. The Falcons have struggled against 3-4 fronts. Michael Turner's per-game rushing average is almost 10 yards lower against 3-4 teams.

History lesson

  • This is the fourth regular-season meeting. The Ravens lead the series 2-1.
  • In the previous meeting, the Ravens won 24-10 in 2006 in Baltimore.
  • Falcons coach Mike Smith worked for the Ravens from 1999 to 2002.
  • Defensive backs coach Alvin Reynolds, quarterback Chris Redman and Mughelli all spent time with the Ravens.