By Danny Cox
There is no one that would have expected to say the 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be facing off with the 2-7 Atlanta Falcons. Ok, it would be more believable that the Bucs have that record, but not the Falcons. Now, anything is possible and that includes Tampa Bay taking down Atlanta.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off of a big win on Monday night. Some may not consider it a big win because it was by just three points and over the reeling Miami Dolphins, but when you’re 0-8, any victory is a big one.
What was different is that the Bucs actually played very well in their victory and that especially goes for the defense. A defense that is going to have to step it up this week when they face off with the Atlanta Falcons.
Falcons a threat?
Sure, the Falcons are 2-7 and are dealing with their second straight three-game losing streak of the season. Their win over the Buccaneers in Week 7, which came by just eight points, wasn’t anything overly impressive.
Still, when Matt Ryan is leading the offense and throwing to Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Harry Douglas; that’s something to fear.
Ryan is not having one of his better years and he is without his primary target in Julio Jones, who is gone for the year. No matter, as Ryan is still someone who knows how to control the field and has a good way of finding someone, anyone on the field when he needs to do so.
Atlanta is going to have a hard time running the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing defense.
It was thought that the Falcons running game would be much better this year than it has been in the past, but that has yet to materialize.
Steven Jackson is looking like a shell of his former self, and injuries haven’t really helped him any with that. Jacquizz Rodgers is doing all right, but he’s far from being an every-down back for any team. Jason Snelling provides a little bit here and there, but he’s never been a big-time producer.
Atlanta actually has the last-ranked rushing offense in the entire league, and chances are they won’t raise that against the Buccaneers. The very same Tampa Bay team that just allowed a measly two yards rushing to the Miami Dolphins.
Falcons on Defense
Defensively, the Falcons really can’t stop anybody. They’ve had four of nine opponents score 30 points or more this season and all nine of them have scored over 20. Injuries have decimated Atlanta’s defense and they are missing some key players that would make this a much better unit.
Playing without Kroy Biermann, Sean Weatherspoon, and others has really hurt them.
Tampa Bay knows that the season is lost, but they are riding a high right now after getting their first win of the season. If the Bucs can carry that momentum to the Atlanta game, they could very well pull themselves out of the NFC South cellar and send the Falcons reeling backward.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.