The Ravens are set to take on the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium in their preseason finale. BR.com offers a look into three key matchups in the contest.
Ravens OLB Antwan Barnes vs. Falcons LT Sam Baker
Considering this is the last game of the preseason, the Ravens' defensive starters will likely see a minimal amount of time, which means that Barnes will be on the field early for Terrell Suggs. The speedy Barnes, 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, gives up a lot in size to Baker, a 312-pound rookie, so he'll have to turn on the burners to get off the edge. By all accounts, Baker has looked impressive in the preseason, handling both power and speed rushers with aplomb.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco vs. Falcons Defense
After watching Flacco's in-game maturation last week in St. Louis, the rookie first-round draft pick will be expected to continue that development. This contest will be a great way to do that, as Flacco will likely face mostly second- and third-stringers. The Falcons were stifling in their previous game, limiting the Tennessee Titans to only three points and 140 net passing yards. The unit also hasn't allowed a touchdown in nine quarters.
Ravens S Jim Leonhard and S Dawan Landry vs. Falcons QB Matt Ryan The much-heralded Ryan was recently named the Falcons' Week 1 starter, so this will be his final tune up before the regular season. Without Ed Reed in the secondary, Leonhard and Landry will take the responsibility of scrambling the third-overall draft pick's brain before he takes the reins. But, Ryan looked impressive last week, going 15-of-21 in his first start Friday against Tennessee for 102 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.