Early Bird Report 12/14: Expert picks for Falcons-Bucs; Kamara ready to play in Week 15

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- After entering their game against the Saints as underdogs in the eyes of the NFL experts around the country, the Falcons are the pre-emptive favorites heading into Monday night against the Bucs.

Today's Early Bird Report includes picks for the Falcons-Bucs game on Monday night as well as Gerald McCoy's desire to play again this year.

Enjoy!

FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

Week 15 expert picks: Falcons are heavy favorites against Bucs

Coming off of a big Thursday night victory against the Saints, the expert pickers are back in the Falcons' corner. Of the eight experts at CBS Sports, seven have the Falcons emerging with a victory on Monday night against the Buccaneers. Senior NFL insider Pete Prisco is among those at CBS Sports who like the Falcons' odds against their division rival, picking Atlanta to beat Tampa Bay 28-21. This is what he had to say about the matchup:

"The Falcons need this game to have a chance to win the division. They haven't looked like the 2016 team at all this season, but maybe this is a chance to get it going. The Bucs have defensive issues. Look for Matt Ryan to beat his former offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter." 

FiveThirtyEight gives the Falcons a 68 percent win probability on Monday night, which is among the highest probabilities for visiting teams this weekend. SB Nation is entirely on the Falcons' bandwagon in Week 15 as all eight experts like Atlanta to beat Tampa Bay.

Here are some more stories on the Falcons:

NEWS ON THE FALCONS' OPPONENT: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

*Tampa Bay Times: *Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Despite suffering a biceps injury, star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy wants to play again this season. The Buccaneers did not place McCoy on injured reserve on Tuesday, indicating he may play again in 2017.

"I'm a fighter," McCoy told Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. "Y'all know me. I don't quit. I give it everything I have. Even the slightest possibility of being able to play, I'm going to do everything I can. I don't know what's going to happen right now, but it's me. I love this team. I love this game. I love this city and give it everything I have."

Here is some more news on the Bucs:

BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFC SOUTH

*The Charlotte Observer: *Panthers' injury updates

Panthers Pro Bowl guard Tria Turner is currently in the concussion protocol, according to *The Charlotte Observer's *Jourdan Rodrigue. Among the other Carolina players who did not participate in Wednesday's practice, per Rodrigue, were linebacker Shaq Thompson and wide receiver Brenton Bersin. Linebacker Thomas Davis, wide receiver Devin Funchess and quarterback Cam Newton were among those who were limited during practice on Wednesday.

*The Times-Picayune: *Newcomer defensive end hoping to help Saints make playoff push

The Saints did not sign veteran defensive end George Johnson earlier this season after a workout, but they officially signed him to the roster on Tuesday. Now, Johnson is looking to help the team make a final push towards the postseason, according to Josh Katzenstein of *The Times-Picayune. *

"They got a good thing going, and I'm hoping that I could just add to it and not disrupt anything that's going on," Johnson told Katzenstein.

Here are more stories from inside the division:

MORE FROM ATLANTAFALCONS.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- After entering their game against the Saints as underdogs in the eyes of the NFL experts around the country, the Falcons are the preemptive favorites heading into Monday night against the Bucs.

Today's Early Bird Report includes picks for the Falcons-Bucs game on Monday night as well as Gerald McCoy's desire to play again this year.

Enjoy!

FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

Week 15 expert picks: Falcons are heavy favorites against Bucs

Coming off of a big Thursday night victory against the Saints, the expert pickers are back in the Falcons' corner. Of the eight experts at CBS Sports, seven have the Falcons emerging with a victory on Monday night against the Buccaneers. Senior NFL insider Pete Prisco is among those at CBS Sports who like the Falcons' odds against their division rival, picking Atlanta to beat Tampa Bay 28-21. This is what he had to say about the matchup:

"The Falcons need this game to have a chance to win the division. They haven't looked like the 2016 team at all this season, but maybe this is a chance to get it going. The Bucs have defensive issues. Look for Matt Ryan to beat his former offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter." 

FiveThirtyEight gives the Falcons a 68 percent win probability on Monday night, which is among the highest probabilities for visiting teams this weekend. SB Nation is entirely on the Falcons' bandwagon in Week 15 as all eight experts like Atlanta to beat Tampa Bay.

Here are some more stories on the Falcons:

NEWS ON THE FALCONS' OPPONENT: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

**

Tampa Bay Times: Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season*

Despite suffering a biceps injury, star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy wants to play again this season. The Buccaneers did not place McCoy on injured reserve on Tuesday, indicating he may play again in 2017.

"I'm a fighter," McCoy told Greg Auman of the

Tampa Bay Times*. "Y'all know me. I don't quit. I give it everything I have. Even the slightest possibility of being able to play, I'm going to do everything I can. I don't know what's going to happen right now, but it's me. I love this team. I love this game. I love this city and give it everything I have."

Here is some more news on the Bucs:

**

BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFC SOUTH

**

The Charlotte Observer: Panthers' injury updates*

Panthers Pro Bowl guard Tria Turner is currently in the concussion protocol, according to

The Charlotte Observer's *Jourdan Rodrigue. Among the other Carolina players who did not participate in Wednesday's practice, per Rodrigue, were linebacker Shaq Thompson and wide receiver Brenton Bersin. Linebacker Thomas Davis, wide receiver Devin Funchess and quarterback Cam Newton were among those who were limited during practice on Wednesday.

**

The Times-Picayune: Newcomer defensive end hoping to help Saints make playoff push*

The Saints did not sign veteran defensive end George Johnson earlier this season after a workout, but they officially signed him to the roster on Tuesday. Now, Johnson is looking to help the team make a final push towards the postseason, according to Josh Katzenstein of

The Times-Picayune. *

"They got a good thing going, and I'm hoping that I could just add to it and not disrupt anything that's going on," Johnson told Katzenstein.

Here are more stories from inside the division:

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MORE FROM ATLANTAFALCONS.COM

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