Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- QuarterbackThe disastrous season continues for the Falcons after they were taken apart at home by the powerful Seahawks. The Falcons had designs on postseason glory at the start of the season, but they are just playing for pride at this point. Matt Ryan has already beaten the Bucs earlier this year, and he will try to use his accurate passing to pick apart the vulnerable Tampa Bay secondary.Mike Glennon has been a decent addition to the starting lineup. While he is not the most gifted quarterback, he keeps his cool in the pocket and he appears to read defenses well. Head coach Greg Schiano has learned that Glennon will pass the ball accurately if his offensive line gives him protection and that he will usually make the right decision with the ball and his decision-making is solid.
- OffenseThe Falcons would like to run the ball with Jacquizz Rodgers and Steven Jackson, but they had no success with their running attack against the Seahawks. The key to the Falcons' offense will be Ryan’s ability to get the ball to wideouts Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez (toe) and Harry Douglas. White returned in the loss to the Seahawks, but he should be ready to have a better game against Tampa Bay.The Bucs took a big hit with the loss of running backs Doug Martin and Mike James, who are both out for the season. Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey will take over the RB chores. Vincent Jackson is an explosive wideout who can dominate smaller defensive backs. While Mike Williams is a capable receiver, he is also very inconsistent.
- DefenseThe Falcons have struggled all season with their defensive play as they are regularly at a disadvantage when it comes to size and strength. Injuries have taken their toll, but they have also allowed backup linebacker Paul Worrilow to play and he is an active hitter. He followed up an 18-tackle against Carolina with a 19-tackles game against the Seahawks.The Bucs have played much better on the defensive side than they have on offense. There is little problem with the Bucs’ overall effort, however they have been hurt badly by poor decision making this season. Linebacker Lavonte David has not been immune to mental mistakes, but he is the team’s best tackler and he is also the team’s best sacker.
- Special TeamsThe Falcons continue to compete on special teams and they are not going to have many lapses with their coverage teams. Rodgers has a chance to break a long return, but he has not been able to turn a game around yet this season. Matt Bosher is having a fantastic year, connecting on 13-of-14 FG attempts.The Bucs have struggled with their special teams and their biggest issue has been punt return differential, which favors their opponents this season. Rain Lindell has been solid as a kicker, but the Bucs have often had to eschew FG attempts because they are so far behind. Punter Michael Koenen is below average.
The Bucs would like to find a way to beat this hated divisional opponent, while the Falcons are merely playing for pride at this point. Falcons head coach Mike Smith has to be concerned about his job, so he can’t afford to let any game slip away. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor