Week eleven rolls around bringing Tampa Bay a familiar foe, the Atlanta Falcons. Now this game doesn't mean much to the world of football, but it does for these two teams. The Falcons are trying to string together some momentum after their rapid collapse, this once NFC South champion is just trying to salvage their season now after falling to 2-7 the Falcons will look at the Tampa Bay game as a measuring stick, seeing where they fair going into next season. For Tampa Bay they just won their first game of the season in the prime-time game now moving forward they look to string together two consecutive wins in a row against mediocre opponents. The remaining games are all important to the Buccaneers, but not to save the coaches job, (that is long gone) but to gain momentum going into next season, and see what new young starters are actually starting job material, and which ones are busts. With a improving quarterback, and running game look for the Bucs to continue subbing in new players and packages, as right now they really can't be much worse. This game is also important for the rivalry aspect, now I know pro football rivalries aren't as important to most fans as college football rivalries they still matter. With the series tied at twenty a piece this game splits the tie, and Atlanta already bet Tampa Bay this year and nobody likes losing to a divisional opponent two times in one season. This could be a huge win for both teams, and with about equal talent level the breakout performers will really tilt the contest.
For Atlanta. Watch out for Matt Ryan obviously as the first game they leaned heavily on him. He torched the Buccaneers team earlier this season going twenty for twenty-six, three touchdowns, and two hundred and seventy three yards. Also not turning the ball over that game helped Matty ice lead the Falcons to a slim victory. Also watch out for Harry Douglas, having to step up after key players went down with injuries is having his best season this year, on pace for one thousand yards Douglas has had wildly big games, or peacefully silent games. Last time he played Tampa Bay he went off, catching seven passes for one hundred and fifty yards and a touchdown hopefully he doesn't slice us up again. Don't worry about the running game! No need to fear the running game heading into this weeks contest, last time Atlanta ran for a whopping eighteen total yards and has one of the worst rushing offenses in the league going up against a top five rush defense. Look for the Falcons to air it out early and often and pick up the running game later on.
For Tampa. Look for both Brian Leonard and Bobby Rainey to have big games against the less than stellar Atlanta defense. Expect Tampa to try and relieve some of the pressure mounted on Mike Glennon with pounding the rock early and often to control the game. With the run heavy approach last week Tampa won the game. Look for Vincent Jackson to break out again against either the much smaller Asante Samuel, or the inexperienced Desmond Trufant. In the first meeting Jackson was targeted twenty-two times and had ten catches for one hundred and thirty eight yards and two touchdowns. Mike Glennon should give Jackson some toss ups for him to go get. Also look for Tim Wright to get more targets as Atlanta has trouble stopping large receivers, and tight-ends. Lastly more of a "they need to step up" then they are going to step up is the Tampa defensive line, in the first game against Atlanta the line didn't account one sack, not one sack, you cannot let a spread offense like Atlanta have time to pick apart every little mismatch rush the quarterback hard and often this week or Matt Ryan will tear us up again.
Look for this game to be a dog fight to the end, if it's close one of these performers might be the difference.