If you are an NFL betting enthusiast and you were browsing the schedule to make your preseason NFL predictions back in August, you would not have circled this game as one that would present an interesting take on current NFL scores.
The Buccaneers are a complete surprise to the entire football world, and they carry a swagger that comes right from their head coach Raheem Morris. This is the same head coach that called his team the best in the NFC a few weeks ago and he meant it. The Bucs are not the best team in the NFC, but they are a very good team.
With the Buccaneers, the offense begins and ends with quarterback Josh Freeman. He manages the game and distributes the ball like a 10-year pro. He uses his limited running game like an expert, and he is becoming very good at picking apart weak secondaries. The problem for the Bucs is their offensive line. You can tell when Freeman is compensating for his line when they play good teams. The Falcons are a good team, and Freeman could be in trouble.
The Falcons offense has more weapons that one team should be allowed to have. Matt Ryan is the quarterback of a unit that includes running back Michael Turner, wide receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Ryan is incredibly accurate with his throwing. He has 19 touchdowns this season and only five interceptions with a 65 percent completion percentage. He hits his targets and he usually hits them in stride.
If the Buccaneers hold an advantage over the Falcons it is on pass defense. The Bucs pass defense is ranked ninth overall, and they have the defensive backs to help shut down the Falcons passing game. The problem is that the Bucs running defense is ranked 27th overall and that opens a huge door for running back Michael Turner. Once Turner gets going, the rest of the offense will follow.
The Bottom Line:
The Bucs are a few players away from competing with the Falcons, but this should still be a good game. Josh Freeman will hold his own against that Falcons defense, but Matty Ice will put the game out of reach before the third quarter is over.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons
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