Another week, another big game for the Buccaneers. Now with a 4 game win streak, Tampa Bay will play host to the 9-1 Atlanta Falcons. Tampa Bay isn’t going to come back and win this division, but Atlanta has a chance to knock their division rival out of the playoffs entirely. This is the first of two match ups for the two teams with the second coming in week 17. Their is a very good chance that Tampa is clinging to their playoff lives in that game, so this week will be crucial. With a 6-4 record and a very tight wildcard race, Tampa Bay cannot afford to lose many games.
Atlanta is the most dominant team in the NFC thus far this season. They have control of first place in the conference and won’t let up as long as that is still in play. With offense led by Matt Ryan and dynamic receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, Tampa’s secondary has one of their toughest challenges of the year. The Falcons passing attack comes in at 3rd in the NFL entering this week while the Bucs have the last ranked pass defense. That is an obvious match up of concern, but it hasn’t slowed down them down recently. Despite the 9-1 record of Atlanta, Tampa comes into this game hotter. Doug Martin is on an absolute tear and recently reached the 1000 yard mark in his rookie season. He very well may be the hottest RB in the league at this point. That is bad news for the 26th ranked run defense of Atlanta The Falcons in their last three games won games by 6 and 4 and also recorded their first loss of the season. Not exactly an ice cold team, but the most vulnerable they have been all year.
If Tampa Bay wants to prove they are truly for real they need to have a good showing this game. They need to prove they can beat the better teams of the NFL and this is a perfect test for that. The offense has shown great strides throughout the season and they are fully capable of putting up points against the Falcons. The true test will be if the defense has any answer for Atlanta’s elite passing attack. Only time will tell as the two face off this Sunday afternoon.