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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Lineups, stats analysis

Probable starters

Bucs offense

WR: Mike Williams 19

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Jeremy Zuttah 76

C: Jeff Faine 52

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: Jeremy Trueblood 65

TE: Kellen Winslow 82

WR: Arrelious Benn 17

QB: Josh Freeman 5

RB: LeGarrette Blount 27

FB: Earnest Graham 34

Bucs defense

LDE: Michael Bennett 71

DT: Gerald McCoy 93

DT: Brian Price 92

RDE: Adrian Clayborn 94

SLB: Dekoda Watson 56

MLB: Mason Foster 59

WLB: Geno Hayes 54

LCB: Aqib Talib 25

RCB: Ronde Barber 20

SS: Sean Jones 26

FS: Cody Grimm 35

special teams

P: Michael Koenen 9

PK: Connor Barth 10

KO: Michael Koenen 9

PR/KR: Preston Parker 87

falcons offense

WR: Julio Jones 11

LT: Sam Baker 72

LG: Justin Blalock 63

C: Todd McClure 62

RG: Garrett Reynolds 75

RT: Tyson Clabo 77

TE: Tony Gonzalez 88

WR: Roddy White 84

QB: Matt Ryan 2

RB: Michael Turner 33

FB: Ovie Mughelli 34

Falcons defense

LDE: Ray Edwards 93

DT: Peria Jerry 94

DT: Vance Walker 99

RDE: John Abraham 55

SLB: Stephen Nicholas 54

MLB: Curtis Lofton 50

WLB: Sean Weatherspoon 56

LCB: Brent Grimes 20

RCB: Dunta Robinson 23

SS: William Moore 25

FS: Thomas DeCoud 28

special teams

P: Matt Bosher 5

PK: Matt Bryant 3

KO: Matt Bryant 3

PR/KR: Eric Weems 14

Injury report

BUCS Out: T James Lee (knee), WR Sammie Stroughter (foot). Doubtful: LB Quincy Black (ankle). Questionable: DE Tim Crowder (calf), TE Kellen Winslow (knee).

FALCONS Out: DT Jonathan Babineaux (knee), CB Kelvin Hayden (hamstring). Questionable: LB Stephen Nicholas (calf). Probable: DE John Abraham (thigh), DE Ray Edwards (foot), C Todd McClure (knee), DT Corey Peters (back), S Shann Schillinger (neck), WR Roddy White (knee).

Stat pack



4:15 p.m., Raymond James Stadium, Tampa | Radio: 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: Bucs by 11/2; 451/2

avg. Rushing yards

avg. passing yards

avg. yards

avg. Rushing yards allowed

avg. passing yards allowed

avg. yards allowed

Bucs

falcons

80.5 25th

124 9th

156 31st

110.5 18th

Bucs coach Raheem Morris says this series can't be called a rivalry until Tampa Bay wins a game under his leadership. That hasn't happened yet as the Bucs are winless in their past five meetings with the Falcons (four of those under Morris). The average margin in the five games, however, is 5.2 points. Last season, both games came down to the final possession. The Bucs are healthier today than the last meeting, and the Falcons are not nearly as good on the road as they are at home.

Falcons' best offensive player

Quarterback Matt Ryan, right, has a lot of stars around him, including receiver Roddy White, tight end Tony Gonzalez and running back Michael Turner. But he has the biggest impact on the Falcons' fate. He hasn't been sharp this season and has a 5-8 touchdown-to-interception margin in six games against the Bucs.

Falcons' best defensive player

End John Abraham, left, has 1041/2 sacks since joining the Falcons in 2006, including two against the Bears in the season opener. But he doesn't have a sack against the Bucs since 2008, when he had four in two games. Last week against the Eagles, Abraham registered a forced fumble. He will pose a great test for Bucs left tackle Donald Penn.

What the Falcons do best

Control the ball with running back Michael Turner then use their weapons in the passing game once they have sucked the defense in. The Falcons added receiver Julio Jones in the draft after paying dearly in a trade up to the No. 6 pick.

You can beat the Falcons if …

You can exploit their defense for big plays. Atlanta gave up seven plays of 20 yards or longer against the Eagles last week. During its current five-game losing streak to the Falcons, the Bucs don't have nearly enough explosive offensive plays.

The Bucs must avoid …

Drumroll … Another slow start. The Falcons won't give up a big lead like the one the Vikings did last week against the Bucs. Atlanta's defense, while inconsistent, has some playmakers who will make coming from behind tough. And Atlanta is capable of eating the clock with running back Michael Turner limiting opponents' time of possession.

Prediction

Bucs 24, Falcons 23

244.5 15th

228 21st

325 20th

352 17th

414.5 28th

412 27th

258.5 19th

301.5 27th

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons: Lineups, stats analysis 09/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 1, 2011 1:07am]
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