The ball is everything
Similar to every game this year, the ball will continue to be an emphasis for the Falcons.
Atlanta will look to continue with their high regard for the football acknowledging the Buccaneers have forced 10 turnovers on the year. When these clubs met for the first time in September, the Falcons won the turnover margin, and the hope is to do the same tonight.
"Tampa has historically for years been very good ball-hawks," head coach Dan Quinn said. "It goes back through Lovie's time there, and it carried through into this year's club as well. For us, we've got to own it offensively and have our opportunities to go after it defensively. The turnover margin is going to be a big one."
Third down is a real factor
Another big factor in tonight's game will be third down, both offensively and defensively for Atlanta.
The Buccaneers' defense ranks 25th in points per game and 26th in yards per game and if the Falcons execute on third down, the match up with Tampa's defense bodes in their favor.
On the other side of the ball it will all come down the Falcons' ability to contain Jameis Winston, especially on third down. Winston's athleticism and ability to extend plays creates problems for every defense he faces, and it will be imperative for Atlanta to limit his production. Tampa's quarterback threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the first go-around.
"They have a very good third down defense," Quinn said. "Offensively, for us, we have to find ways to go and attack that. [How do we limit Tampa's offensive production] on third down -- how does Winston get in and out of the pocket? He does a very good job."
Attack in all three phases
In order to come out of Raymond James Stadium with a win on Thursday night, it will take a complete team effort from the Falcons. Atlanta has a chance to widen their lead in the NFC South with a victory.
"Can we demonstrate how we attack in all three phases? We are going to try and out hit every team we play and we want to put that effort and toughness on point," Quinn said.