The Falcons offense has scored more then 28 points three times this season; against the struggling Redskins, last week against the Giants and an impressive 45 points at San Francisco. Despite last weeks' loss to the Giants, the Falcons offense showed the capability to score. The Falcons scored 24 second-half points and sent the game into overtime. In the first half the Falcons had five possessions and only scored once (Snelling touchdown run). The second half was a completely different story as the Falcons went 4-for-4 and scored every time they had the ball before the game went to overtime. The Falcons offense has put together impressive back-to-back second half performances through two losses. Watch for the Falcons offense to put together a complete game and explode against one of the NFL's worst statistical defenses in Week 12.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing for pride and preparation for next season. The Buccaneers, have played three different quarterbacks and have a defense that has had struggles this season. With four of their next six games on the road the Buccaneers schedule is not giving them any breaks. But, they are still playing tough. After a surprise win three weeks ago against Green Bay, the Buccaneers are not giving up. Last week, the Buccaneers caught the Saints bouncing back after four weeks of barely staying unbeaten and took it out on the Buccaneers winning 38-7. As the Bucs come to Atlanta the Falcons must stick to what has worked in the past and take advantage of the struggles. The Bucs defense ranks 31st in points per game, 27th in yards per game and last in rushing yards per game. The Falcons offense has been improved steadily as the offense now ranks ninth in the NFL with 25.2 points per game and 12th with 122.5 rushing yards per game. With Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood statuses still unknown the Falcons running game could again fall on Jason Snelling. Snelling rushed 25 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants. One week earlier Snelling filled in for Turner in the second half and added 61 yards rushing, a touchdown and 32 yards receiving. Watch for the Falcons to stress the run.
Freeman vs. Ryan
Josh Freeman entered the 2009 season as the Buccaneers No. 1 draft pick out of Kansas State. Freeman was perceived as a gamble and wasn't expected to see much action. He didn't see any snaps until Week 7 against New England. Freeman went in late and went 2-of-4 passing, was sacked twice and rushed once for 5 yards. Since he's started every game. The Buccaneers pass offense ranks 27th overall in yards averaging 169.8 yards per game. Another problem for the Bucs is no other aspect of their offense is picking up the slack. The Bucs rank 27th overall averaging 16.4 points per game, 29th overall with 270.5 yards per game and 23rd overall with 100.7 yards per game. The Buccaneers offense was challenged early with the firing of offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before start of the regular season. In Freemans first start he went 14-of-31, threw three touchdowns and was sacked once. He also led the Buccaneers to their first win. In Freemans two losses as a starter he has thrown his four interceptions and two touchdowns. Matt Ryan has also thrown his fair share of picks this season, but has managed to throw a touchdown in nine of the Falcons 1o games this season. Quarterback play will be crucial this week.
The Falcons are 5-5 this season and the second quarter has determined the outcome of all ten games. Until the outcome of the game does not match the outcome of the second quarter it will be a key to the game. To beat the Buccaneers the Falcons must win the second quarter – and maybe all – quarters.
MORE FALCONS-BUCCANEERS COVERAGE:
FALCONCAST:J. Mike and Matt preview Sunday's matchup at the Georgia Dome * MULTIMEDIA:Interviews and more video from AtlantaFalcons.com * EXPERT'S TAKE:Thoughts from Judy Battista of *The New York Times *on Falcons, NFL * PREVIEW PACK:More on this weekend's game from the Football Communications staff (PDF) * GAME INFO:Game entertainment and more to get you ready for Falcons-Bucs * WHAT TO WATCH:Some key things to keep in mind as the Falcons take on the Buccaneers * NUMBERS AND NOTES:Notes and stats to get you ready for Sunday * QUOTABLE:Transcript of the Falcons Wednesday open locker room period