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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11 IND at TEN (THU) CLE at CIN MIN at SEA SF at NO
ATL at TB DET at PIT OAK at HOU WAS at PHI
BAL at CHI GB at NYG NYJ at BUF NE at CAR (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at JAC KC at DEN SD at MIA On Bye: DAL, STL

Prediction: ATL 13, TB 24 (Line: ATL by 1)

Players of Interest: Bobby Rainey, Brian Leonard

Update: Harry Douglas was held out of practice on Thursday with a knee injury and then returned for limited week on Friday. He's questionable to play and is no lock for Sunday. He has a great matchup and if he is healthy should have a very nice game. Tony Gonzalez is also questionable with a bad toe. He did not practice at all this week until some limited work on Friday. He'll be a game time decision as well. This is shaping up poorly for the Falcons.

The Buccaneers have a chance to drag the Falcons down to the NFC South basement. The Bucs are on a short week after their Monday night win but remain at home. The Falcons are on a three game losing streak and are 0-4 away from Atlanta. This is a replay of week seven when the Falcons won 31-23 when Bucs were the visitors. It was their only win in the last seven games.

1 @NO 17-23 10 SEA 10-33
2 STL 31-24 11 @TB -
3 @MIA 23-27 12 NO -
4 NE 23-30 13 @BUF -
5 NYJ 28-30 14 @GB -
6 BYE WEEK 15 WAS -
7 TB 31-23 16 @SF -
8 @ARI 13-27 17 CAR -
9 @CAR 10-34 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
ATL @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan 240,1
RB Jacquizz Rodgers 20 5-60
WR Drew Davis 5-50
WR Harry Douglas 4-40
WR Roddy White 3-30
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 1 XP

Pregame Notes: The Falcons already lost almost all their offensive weapons at least temporarily other than Tony Gonzalez who now is injured and may not play. The rushing offense has been mostly invisible all year and now the passing game has taken a nosedive in recent weeks. There are no more soft matchups left on the schedule for a team that just gets worse as the season progresses.

QUARTERBACKS: Matt Ryan started the year well enough with multiple touchdowns in his first five games but since he's been stuck with only one score per week and his yardage is getting worse to a low point last week of only 172 yards against the Seahawks. Ryan passed for 273 yards and three scores against the Bucs in week seven and it was the last time the Falcons passing game did much of anything.

RUNNING BACKS: The Falcons faced three straight good defenses and the results have been telling. Jacquizz Rodgers may have caught eight passes for 46 yards and two scores when the Bucs came to Atlanta, but he's remained scoreless and under 60 total yards in each game since. Steven Jackson was injured in the last meeting but since returning for the last three weeks has rung up 33 carries for 74 yards. Jackson is running with all the inspiration of someone who stayed at the party long after all the women left and the beer was gone.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Roddy White returned from his season-long high ankle sprain and played almost every down but matching on Richard Sherman meant he only caught one pass for 20 yards. So far White still has never topped 45 yards this year and went over 30 yards just once. This week - Darrelle Revis and another flop. At least the one game that Harry Douglas did well was back against the Bucs when he caught seven passes for 149 yards and one touchdown - his only of the year. Douglas is playing from the slot and Drew Davis is taking Julio Jones spot and doing nothing with it these several weeks.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez only accounted for two catches for 30 yards in the last meeting with the Buccaneers and he left the Seattle game with a injured toe that had him hobbling afterwards in the locker room. The early expectation is that Gonzo may be able to play this week though he will probably not be 100%. More will be known by Friday and I will update if warranted. I am forecasting a somewhat limited Gonzalez for now.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: This is the second meeting for these teams and this time it is in Tampa Bay where the Bucs play much better. Most opponents pass for more than one score against them but the Falcons with a banged up Gonzalez and little else doesn't promote much confidence. Their rushing defense already held the Falcons to 30 yards in Atlanta though Rodgers scored twice as a receiver. The Bucs just held the Dolphins to a net two yards on 14 rushes. Downgrade the Falcons in this game. The only reasonable starts would be Douglas playing the same position that gave him 149 yards a month ago and that allowed Rishard Matthews to explode for 120 yards and two scores just last Monday. All others are risky plays.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 15 7 18 8 24 29
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 25 10 19 13 23 10

 

1 @NYJ 17-18 10 MIA 22-19
2 NO 14-16 11 ATL -
3 @NE 3-23 12 @DET -
4 ARI 10-13 13 @CAR -
5 BYE WEEK 14 BUF -
6 PHI 20-31 15 SF -
7 @ATL 23-31 16 @STL -
8 CAR 13-31 17 @NO -
9 @SEA 24-27 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
TB vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Mike Glennon 270,2
QB Josh McCown 20 240,2
RB Bobby Rainey 60,1 1-10
WR Vincent Jackson 7-110,2
TE Brandon Myers 2-20

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers finally got that first win thanks to a Miami team likely distracted by Incognito-Gate and even then it came down to the wire. But it was the first time that the Bucs actually had to reclaim the lead and then hold off a final drive from the Dolphins. This week and then week 14 are the only realistic shots at more wins and the Falcons are only getting worse thanks to injuries. The season is already over but winning back-to-back guarantees that the coaching staff makes it to the end of the year.

QUARTERBACKS: At least Mike Glennon is scoring in every game and typically twice. He passed for 256 yards and two touchdowns in Atlanta a month ago for one of his best games of the year. This is a great chance for Glennon to look good and earn a role next year against an injury-ravaged Falcons defense.

RUNNING BACKS: Mike James fractured his ankle on Monday night and is out indefinitely if not the rest of the year. That's a shame since he was impressive against the Seahawks when he ran for 158 yards and was shredding the Dolphins before he was injured. Now the backfield is most likely to be a committee where Bobby Rainey takes the early downs and primary rushing role while Brian Leonard plays third downs. Rainey scored once on the Fins and gained 45 yards on just eight carries. Leonard ran 20 times but only gained 57 yards. The loss of James ensures that the rushing offense is not going to be a strength for the rest of the year.

Doug Martin's last game was the Atlanta meeting when he gained 47 yards on 11 runs before getting injured.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Tiquan Underwood turned in a season-best three catches for 64 yards on the Dolphins last Monday and he scored on the Seahawks in the previous week. Mike Williams last full game was versus the Falcons when he only gained 32 yards on four carries. Vincent Jackson has been very quiet the last two weeks but scored twice in Atlanta when he recorded ten catches for 138 yards. Jackson always shines when facing weak secondaries and they have been few this year. Other than Atlanta. This should provide a bounce back game for Jackson.

TIGHT ENDS: Tim Wright only caught two passes for 15 yards in Atlanta and managed just one catch against the Dolphins. But his role expands when the Buccaneers end up in passing formation as he is purely a receiving tight end and not a good blocker. Wright scored in both week eight and nine versus the defenses of Seattle and Carolina. He's a bigger target when the wideouts are covered which may not be the case again this week.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Falcons have allowed at least two scores to every opposing quarterback this year and that won't change in a road game against the Bucs who passed for 256 yards and two touchdowns a month ago in Atlanta. The Falcons are still better than most in stopping the run though less so on the road. Consider Glennon a moderate play this week and Vincent Jackson as a must start. Bobby Rainey, Brian Leonard and Underwood are risky but worth considering in this softer matchup.

WHAT TO WATCH: Rainey and Leonard have to produce at least mediocre yardage to keep opponents from loading up on the pass. They were somewhat encouraging against a decent Dolphin defense and should be no worse here.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 31 22 25 26 30 24
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 27 18 28 10 32 6

WEEK 11 IND at TEN (THU) CLE at CIN MIN at SEA SF at NO
ATL at TB DET at PIT OAK at HOU WAS at PHI
BAL at CHI GB at NYG NYJ at BUF NE at CAR (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at JAC KC at DEN SD at MIA On Bye: DAL, STL


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