NFL Preseason Picks: Ravens vs. Falcons Preview

David Lawrence

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 1:11 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2015 1:11 PM UTC

Keep in mind before placing your NFL picks both the Ravens and Falcons are looking for backup QBs they can feel confident about, but there are no such assurances for either team on Thursday.

What We Know About The Coaches
John Harbaugh of Baltimore is 20-11 in the preseason, 1-2 this year, after his Ravens lost to Washington, 31-13. Dan Quinn of Atlanta is 1-2 this preseason after the Falcons lost to Miami, 13-9. Quinn is still learning how to be an NFL head coach, so if you want to make an NFL pick based on coaches in the preseason, this might be the one spot in which to do so: with a rookie coach on the other side. Go with Baltimore.

Edge: Ravens


Quarterback Rotation
Bryn Renner and Matt Schaub both threw interceptions and did not look very good for Baltimore in the loss to Washington last week. Neither man completed over four passes, so the fact that they both threw picks is highly discouraging. Starter Joe Flacco is ready to go, but he shouldn’t play in this game. The Ravens used to have Tyrod Taylor, who has worked his way up in the Buffalo Bills’ quarterback rotation. He would have been a good player to have in this game, but Renner and Schaub inspire no confidence at all.

T.J. Yates could not get Atlanta to score very much despite the fact that he played almost all of last Saturday’s game against Miami and threw 28 passes. The Falcons are going through something of an identity crisis at quarterback, in light of how few points they did score against the Miami Dolphins (nine). They picked up Rex Grossman, who was recently a backup in Washington and couldn’t make the team in Cleveland a year ago. At 35, Grossman hasn’t started a regular season game in a few years, but the Falcons want to see if this is their answer at one of the backup positions behind Matt Ryan. Sean Renfree is not making enough of a good impression to convince the Falcons of his abilities.

Both teams are a mess here and the NFL odds are looking pretty even.

Edge: Even


Team Depth & Rotations
The Ravens should be without offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, who suffered a concussion last week against Washington. The Falcons will be without backup tight end Tony Moeaki and backup tackle Tyler Polumbus, who both suffered injuries in the loss to Miami.

One player to watch for is new Atlanta running back, draftee Tevin Coleman. The University of Indiana product sat out the first two games of the preseason with a hamstring injury, then jumped into the lineup last week and carried four times for only two yards. The Falcons are sure to give him a lot more work, and how he plays might have a lot to do with the result of this game.

It’s hard to get a feel for how each team’s backups are going to play. Atlanta’s quarterback situation is in such a state of flux behind Matt Ryan that the other rotational players are just as much of a puzzle. You’re not going to find clarity here.

Edge: Even


Outlook & Pick
In what feels like a total toss-up, the Falcons who are under a new head coach will have more to work for in this game.

NFL Pick: Ravens +1 at Bodog

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