The games between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons have been special these past years. They've all been tight, exciting games. Even the two games in 2009 were close affairs, while the Bucs were horrible that year. This is a must-watch game, which is why it's so painful to see it blacked out.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, they haven't been able to pull out a win the past five times they faced the Falcons. The Falcons have had luck, but they've also had skill and they've managed to win every one of them. Brent Grimes has been a real terror for the Bucs, while Michael Turner has sliced through the defense like a truck through a wooden gate.
So will the Bucs finally be able to lift the curse on Sunday? I'll give you my thoughts on the game after the jump. Then I want to hear your thoughts on this game: who will stand out on each side of the ball, and what will the score be?
Personally, I think the Bucs will finally win one, but I'm an optimist. While the Falcons might be a better team, though even that is doubtful, I think the Bucs' strengths and weakness work very well against the Falcons'.
On defense, the Bucs have done a good job stopping wide receivers, which is where the Falcons are strongest. Roddy White wasn't a major factor in beating the Bucs last year, while Julio Jones has looked pretty bad as a receiver. Tony Gonzalez could have a big game, but Ronde Barber has done a very good job stopping him in recent years.
The only concern I have is the Bucs defense versus Michael Turner, but Turner has struggled through his first two games, as has their offensive line. Turner had a couple of very good runs, but has not been able to sustain the Falcons offense the way he used to.
Meanwhile on defense the Falcons have not been very good either. While they have done a good job stopping the run so far, they have failed miserably in pass defense. Even Mike Kafka managed to be productive against that defense. The Bucs may not be able to get the run going all that well, again, but they should be able to use their depth at receiver to pick apart their pass defense.
That's not to say that the Bucs are going to dominate, though. I have no doubt that this will be a close game yet again. But I think big games from Arrelious Benn and Aqib Talib are going to give the Bucs their first win against Atlanta in a long time.
So what do you think?