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Point-Counterpoint: Week 10


Every week there's a rush of information in the days leading up to gameday. Bloggers, TV analysts, reporters, fans … everyone has an opinion, and in the age of hyper-speed new media, everyone's got a chance to share it.

But sometimes it's tough to focus through all the noise.

Here we examine three storylines entering Week 10 that you'll surely hear all about. We present the flipside — the ideas from inside the walls of team headquarters — to suggest what the Atlanta Falcons are thinking of the popular headlines.

What they will say:After yet another emotional win for Atlanta and a solid win for the Baltimore Ravens, the Falcons are playing at a disadvantage on a short week.

What we're saying:Not so fast.

First, Atlanta has shown tremendous bounce-back factor from wins and losses. Last week's outcome rarely has an affect on the Falcons.

Second, the Ravens may have an even bigger disadvantage. Both teams have a short week, but the Falcons are at home where they are now 17-3 under head coach Mike Smith. Additionally, the Ravens have to travel so they essentially lose a day in a four-day work week.

What they will say:The Falcons' offense will have a tough time against the vaunted and respected Ravens defense.

What we're saying:Yes, perhaps so, but the Falcons have a top-10 offense in virtually every important category, and when two strong forces collide, something has to give.

Plus, the Falcons play defense, too. In fact, they do so — at times — statistically better than the Ravens.

Atlanta is ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (95.9) and the Ravens are 13th (104.8). Incidentally, the Falcons are a top-five rushing offense, as well.

While the Falcons give up more total yards on defense than the Ravens and allow two more points per game than Baltimore, Atlanta's defense is second in the NFL with 13 interceptions. The Ravens: Five-way tie for seventh.

What they will say:The AFC, as usual, is the dominant conference and it always shows in inter-conference play.

What we're saying:The NFC is gaining ground. The AFC holds a 21-16 edge this season. Atlanta is 2-1 this season against the AFC, but during Smith's tenure they're 9-3.

Smith cut his NFL coaching teeth in the AFC and is familiar with the conference's teams and style of play. He's also familiar with the Ravens due to his time with the team from 1999-2002. While the coaching staff is different and the majority of the roster has turned over, there are still key figures on the Baltimore team that Smith worked with.

Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed all were all on the Ravens defense while Smith was involved and tight end Todd Heap was on the team during Smith's tenure, as well. All four are starters.

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