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Nerdy Birdz: Must-know stats about the Falcons' Alex Mack, the highest-graded center in Week 9


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons head to Cleveland to face the Browns on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Here are three must-know stats on center Alex Mack and the significant role he'll play in Week 10:


1. Mack attack: Quarterback Matt Ryan posted his third consecutive game of 350 passing yards against Washington, including four touchdowns and just two sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, the offensive line was ranked second-best pass-blocking unit last week and Mack, who didn't give up a single pressure, was the highest-graded center of the week. Despite losing two starting offensive linemen earlier this year, Mack and his group are finding their groove at just the right time, but will have a challenge this week facing Myles Garrett, who is tied for the third-most sacks in the NFL with 9.0 through nine games.

2. Turning up: In Week 9 against Washington, Mack and the offensive line helped the team rush for 154 yards, including one touchdown, against a top-five run defense. This marked just the second game this year that the rushing offense put up more than 100 yards and the first since Week 2 against the Panthers. On Sunday, the Falcons are going up against the fourth-worst rush defense in the league, so look for the offensive line – and running backs Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith – to potentially have another great game.

3. Homecoming: The 10-year veteran was originally selected by the Cleveland Browns in the first round (21st overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He started all 101 games he played for the Browns and earned Pro Bowl honors three years (2010, 2013, 2015). When Mack became an unrestricted free agent, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons on March 9, 2016, and has started every game since then as well as earning Pro Bowl honors his first two seasons for the Falcons.

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