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Bucs vs. Falcons: Scouting report

The Bucs face their biggest test of the season, putting a four-game win streak on the line. The key to this game: Tampa Bay's porous pass defense against league-leading passer Matt Ryan. Can the Bucs limit the damage enough to give their quarterback, Josh Freeman, an opportunity to win?

Falcons' top offensive player

QB Matt Ryan, right, is having a career year, and it's no coincidence the Falcons are flying high. He has thrown for an NFL-high 3,072 yards and 20 touchdowns. His .718 winning percentage since 2008 is third best in the NFL.

Falcons' top defensive player

End John Abraham, left, is having another big year with nine sacks. Key stat: Abraham has just one sack against the Bucs over the past six meetings.

What the Falcons do best

With downfield threats in receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons throw deep early and often.

How you beat the Falcons

Get them into a shootout. The Saints did that in handing the Falcons their only loss. The Bucs average more points than Atlanta.

Bucs must avoid …

Turnovers. After playing so soundly in previous weeks, the Bucs had three last week and barely won. That can't happen.

Prediction

Falcons 28, Bucs 24

Projected starters

BUCS

OFFENSE

WR: Vincent Jackson

LT: Donald Penn

LG: Jeremy Zuttah

C: Ted Larsen

RG: Jamon Meredith

RT: Demar Dotson

TE: Dallas Clark

WR: Mike Williams

QB: Josh Freeman

RB: Doug Martin

FB: Erik Lorig

DEFENSE

LDE: Michael Bennett

DT: Gerald McCoy

DT: Roy Miller

RDE: Daniel

Te'o-Nesheim

SLB: Adam Hayward

MLB: Mason Foster

WLB: Lavonte David

CB: E.J. Biggers

CB: Eric Wright

SS: Mark Barron

FS: Ronde Barber

special teams

PR: Roscoe Parrish

KR: LeQuan Lewis

PK: Connor Barth

P/KO: Michael Koenen

falcons

OFFENSE

WR: Julio Jones

LT: Sam Baker

LG: Justin Blalock

C: Robert McClure

RG: Peter Konz

RT: Tyson Clabo

TE: Tony Gonzalez

WR: Roddy White

QB: Matt Ryan

RB: Michael Turner

WR: Hugh Douglas

DEFENSE

LDE: John Abraham

DT: Corey Peters

DT: Jonathan Babineaux

RDE: Peria Jerry

OLB: Mike Peterson

MLB: Sean Weatherspoon

OLB: Stephen Nicholas

CB: Dunta Robinson

CB: Asante Samuel

SS: Will Moore

FS: Thomas DeCoud

special teams

PR: Dominique Franks

KR: Jacquizz Rodgers

PK/KO: Matt Bryant

P: Matt Bosher

Stat pack



1, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa | Radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: Falcons by 1; 50

Injury report

Bucs — Out: S Cody Grimm (hamstring). Questionable: CB Eric Wright (Achilles). Probable: DE Michael Bennett (shoulder), S Ahmad Black (illness), CB Leonard Johnson (heel), DE Aaron Morgan (shoulder), WR Tiquan Underwood (head), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring).

Falcons: Out: S Charles Mitchell (calf). Questionable: WR Kevin Cone (groin), DT Peria Jerry (quadriceps), WR Julio Jones (ankle), CB Asante Samuel (shoulder), DT Vance Walker (ribs), LB Sean Weatherspoon (illness, ankle). Probable: DE John Abraham (back), DT Jonathan Babineaux (neck), K Matt Bryant (back), CB Christopher Owens (thigh), QB Matt Ryan (finger), RB Michael Turner (groin).

Bucs vs. Falcons: Scouting report 11/23/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 9:52pm]

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