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  1. Bucs

Bucs-Falcons: Analysis

Normally, facing the Falcons at the Georgia Dome is daunting. And it will be for Bucs rookie QB Mike Glennon, who makes his first road start. But Atlanta hasn't played like the team that has made the playoffs four of the past five seasons. With injuries to top receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White, QB Matt Ryan has a less dynamic supporting cast. Good news for the Bucs is they won 22-17 at Atlanta to end last season (though the playoff-bound Falcons had nothing to play for). Bad news is the Bucs haven't won since.

What the Falcons do best

Air it out. The Falcons average 313 yards passing per game, though without White and Jones, they aren't quite as dangerous. They still boast future Hall of Fame TE Tony Gonzalez, who has a catch in 200 consecutive games.

How you beat the Falcons

With WR Mike Williams (hamstring) expected back along with WR Vincent Jackson, the Bucs can take advantage of a defense that has allowed 274.8 passing yards per game. But beware of CB Asante Samuel, who has 50 interceptions over 10-plus seasons.

The pick

Falcons 24, Bucs 13

Falcons' top offensive player

Matt Ryan, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, has completed 69.3 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He is at his best at the Georgia Dome, going 34-7 (.829) over his five-plus seasons.

Falcons' top defensive player

Osi Umenyiora, the former Giants star end, has picked up where he left off, racking up four sacks and two forced fumbles. He likely will match up with Bucs LT Donald Penn.

The Bucs must avoid …

Falling behind early. With QB Mike Glennon making his first road start in the extremely loud dome, forcing him to come from behind is asking for trouble. Plus, the Falcons are 43-1 at home when taking a lead into the fourth quarter since coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008.

Projected starters



WR: Vincent Jackson 83

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Jeremy Zuttah 76

C: Ted Larsen 62

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: Demar Dotson 69

TE: Tim Wright 81

WR: Mike Williams 19

QB: Mike Glennon 8

RB: Doug Martin 22

FB: Erik Lorig 41


DE: Daniel Te'o Nesheim 50

DT: Gerald McCoy 93

DT: Akeem Spence 97

DE: Adrian Clayborn 94

SLB: Dekoda Watson 56

MLB: Mason Foster 59

WLB: Lavonte David 54

LCB: Darrelle Revis 24

RCB: Leonard Johnson 29

SS: Mark Barron 23

FS: Dashon Goldson 38

Special teams

P/KO: Michael Koenen 9

PK: Rian Lindell 4

LS: Andrew Economos 48

KR/PR: Eric Page 17



WR: Harry Douglas 83

LT: Lamar Holme 76

LG: Justin Blalock 63

C: Peter Konz 66

RG: Garrett Reynolds 75

RT: Jeremy Trueblood 65

TE: Tony Gonzalez 88

WR: Drew Davis 19

QB: Matt Ryan 2

RB: Jacquizz Rodgers 32

FB: Patrick DiMarco 42


RDE: Osi Umenyiora 50

DT: Corey Peters 91

DT: Jonathan Babineaux 95

LDE: Peria Jerry 94

OLB: Joplo Bartu 59

MLB: Omar Gaither 53

OLB: Stephen Nicholas 54

LCB: Desmond Trufant 21

RCB: Asante Samuel 22

SS: William Moore 25

FS: Thomas DeCoud 28

Special teams

P/KO: Matt Bosher 5

PK: Matt Bryant 3

LS: Josh Harris 47

KR: Jacquizz Rodgers 32

PR: Harry Douglas 83

Injury report

BUCS Out: RB Jeff Demps (groin), G Carl Nicks (foot). Questionable: CB Michael Adams (knee), DE Da'Quan Bowers (toe), WR Mike Williams (hamstring). Probable: G Davin Joseph (knee), G Jeremy Zuttah (groin)

FALCONS Out: T Sam Baker (knee), TE Chase Coffman (knee), RB Steven Jackson (hamstring), WR Roddy White (hamstring/ankle). Questionable: LB Akeem Dent (ankle). Probable: RB Jason Snelling (concussion)

1 p.m., Georgia Dome, Atlanta | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM, 95.3-FM | Line, O/U: Falcons by 7, 43