What the Falcons must do to win Sunday

Can Roddy White be healthy enough for the Falcons to score on Baltimore? It won't matter if the offensive line can't protect Matt Ryan.

This is going to be tough. The more you look at the match up between Atlanta and Baltimore, well, it just doesn't look good for the Falcons. They are struggling, losers of three in a row, while the Ravens seem to be on a roll.

So what do the Falcons have to do to win on Sunday? Here are some key points.

1. Pray the ball bounces their way
I'm not trying to be snide here, but this is just not a good match up for Atlanta. They can't put pressure on the quarterback, and when Joe Flacco has time he does damage. They can't stop the big play, and Steve Smith has historically shown the Falcons he can make the big play. Atlanta has to protect Matt Ryan, and the Ravens have a great pass rush. So the best chance the Falcons have is for there to be turnovers. Can they create turnovers to give themselves good field position and score quickly?

2. Find someone to rush Joe Flacco
Who could that be? Malliciah Goodman? Jonathan Massaquoi? Osi Umenyiora? Ok, I was joking on the last name. Umenyiora is proving he is done, and maybe he'll prove us wrong by showing up for a change and creating havoc for opponents. Someone must step up and become a pass rusher, or targeting Justin Houston this offseason is going to become even more of a priority.

3. Someone in the secondary must play out of their minds
Steve Smith is probably watching the tape and licking his chops. You know the Ravens will try and stay away from Desmond Trufant, the only solid player left in the Atlanta secondary. But Smith will still do damage regardless, unless someone - like Robert Alford or Dwight Lowery - can make a big play. Is that really too much to ask?

4. Give Antone Smith the ball
How much do we have to beg for the Falcons to get the ball in this kid's hands? It should be easy, shouldn't it? Every time he gets the ball it seems Smith does something special. So give it to him more and maybe good things will happen more often. It might not be that simple, but fact is Smith needs and deserves more touches.

5. Protect Matt Ryan
Regardless of the health of the receivers, and that is a concern, if Ryan is bull-rushed by Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs and C.J. Moseley, this is going to be a blowout. The guys left on the offensive line must somehow give Ryan time to throw the ball. Hopefully Jake Matthews' ankle will be okay and he can protect Ryan against Dumervil, who will want to hurt Ryan.



Listen to "The Bill Shanks Show" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.


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