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Friday, January 14, 2011
Perfection, Falcons D top things to know

By Russell S. Baxter

ESPN NFL Research Coordinator Russell Baxter's Top Five Things to Know as heard this morning on Mike and Mike in the Morning .

• Including playoffs, Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco is 2-5 lifetime against the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing six TD passes, while being sacked 24 times and committing 11 turnovers.

Conversely, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has defeated the Ravens six straight times dating back to ’07 (also including postseason). The Ravens will also try to buck some other history; the Steelers are a perfect 8-0 in playoff games vs. divisional rivals dating back to the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

• The Atlanta Falcons allowed 18 points or fewer and totaled multiple takeaways in each of their last four games. Atlanta’s defense will have to come up big against Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw for 344 yards and a score in this year’s earlier loss at Atlanta.

• Including playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks have allowed 336 points in their last 11 games, while the Chicago Bears allowed 286 points in 16 games this season. Pete Carroll’s team has given up an amazing 33-plus points in eight of those games, including 36 in last week’s wild card stunner over the New Orleans Saints.

• The New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady are 4-4 in their last 8 playoff games, after Brady won his first 10 playoff games as a starter dating back to 2001.

In fact New England has dropped two straight playoff games for the first time under head coach Bill Belichick, losing Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants (17-14) and a 2009 wild card playoff game to Baltimore (33-14).

• Home teams are 10-10 in the Divisional Playoffs since 2005, after home teams went 49-11 in the Divisional Playoffs in 15 seasons from 1990-04. Last weekend, home teams were just 1-3, meaning home teams in the playoffs are a very ordinary 18-16 since ’07.