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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons: lineups and analysis

Probable starters


WR: Mike Williams 19

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Jeremy Zuttah 76

C: Jeff Faine 52

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: James Lee 77

TE: Kellen Winslow 82

WR: Arrelious Benn 17

QB: Josh Freeman 5

RB: LeGarrette Blount 27

FB: Erik Lorig 44


DE: Da'Quan Bowers 91

DT: Roy Miller 90

DT: Brian Price 92

DE: Adrian Clayborn 94

LB: Quincy Black 58

LB: Mason Foster 59

LB: Geno Hayes 54

CB: E.J. Biggers 31

CB: Ronde Barber 20

SS: Sean Jones 26

FS: Tanard Jackson 36

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: Will Svitek 74

LG: Justin Blalock 63

C: Todd McClure 62

RG: Joe Hawley 61

RT: Tyson Clabo 77

TE: Tony Gonzalez 88

WR: Roddy White 84

QB: Matt Ryan 2

WR: Eric Weems 14

WR: Harry Douglas 83

Falcons Defense

DE: John Abraham 55

DT: Corey Peters 91

DT: Jonathan Babineaux 95

DE: Ray Edwards 93

LB: Sean Weatherspoon 55

LB: Curtis Lofton 50

LB: Mike Peterson 53

CB: Dunta Robinson 23

CB: Brent Grimes 20

SS: William Moore 25

FS: Thomas DeCoud 28

Special teams

P: Matt Bosher 5

PK: Matt Bryant 3

KO: Matt Bosher 5

PR/KR: Eric Weems 14

Injury report

Bucs Out: T Jeremy Trueblood (concussion). Questionable: WR Arrelious Benn (neck), DE Michael Bennett (toe), DT Albert Haynesworth (knee), DT Brian Price (ankle). Probable: DE Adrian Clayborn (hamstring), LB Geno Hayes (finger), LB Adam Hayward (foot), DT Roy Miller (back), WR Preston Parker (concussion), WR Sammie Stroughter (knee).

FALCONS Doubtful: WR Kerry Meier (groin), LB Stephen Nicholas (toe). Questionable: DE Ray Edwards (knee), CB Brent Grimes (knee), QB Chris Redman (illness). Probable: DE John Abraham (undisclosed), WR Harry Douglas (groin, shoulder), TE Tony Gonzalez (undisclosed), WR Julio Jones (ankle), TE Reggie Kelly (back), LB Curtis Lofton (ankle), C Todd McClure (not injury related), CB Christopher Owens (hand), TE Michael Palmer (knee), T Will Svitek (groin), RB Michael Turner (groin).

Stat pack

4:15 p.m., Georgia Dome, Atlanta | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line/OU: Falcons by 10½; 45½

avg. Rushing yards

avg. passing yards

avg. total yards

avg. Rushing yards allowed

avg. passing yards allowed

avg. total yards allowed



94.9 (30th)

105.5 (20th)

149.7 (31st)

101.1 (8th)

242.5 (24th)

235.1 (19th)

226.1 (16th)

267.7 (7th)

392.2 (30th)

336.2 (12th)

321.0 (21st))

373.2 (10th)

The Bucs played their best defensive game of the season in the teams' first meeting, a 16-13 win on Sept. 25 in Tampa. Atlanta rushed for just 30 yards, and the Bucs registered four sacks. Given Tampa Bay's recent play, that seems unlikely now. A key will be if the Falcons play their regulars. A Lions win over the Packers (1 p.m. kickoff) means Atlanta is locked into the sixth seed.

Falcons' best offensive player

Roddy White, right, has 96 catches this season, most in the NFC and fewer than only the 116 of the Patriots' Wes Welker. Of those, 21 have come over his past two games.

Falcons' best defensive player

Two weeks ago against the Jaguars, end John Abraham, left, had 31/2 sacks and two forced fumbles, showing he still is capable of taking over a game even at 33. For the season, he has 81/2 sacks.

What the Falcons do best

Atlanta still prefers to set up its offense with running back Michael Turner. But its passing game remains potent. Receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez make great targets for quarterback Matt Ryan.

You can beat the Falcons if …

You stop the run. The Falcons have a varied offense, but it's less effective if they're in predictable down-and-distance situations. That comes from slowing Michael Turner.

The Bucs must avoid …

More turnovers. One of the biggest story lines this season has been their 36 turnovers (tied with the Eagles for most) and minus-14 turnover margin (better than only the Redskins). Last week at Carolina, the Bucs committed four.


Falcons 29, Bucs 17

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons: lineups and analysis 12/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 31, 2011 6:24pm]
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