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David Dorey
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WEEK 13
2010
HOU at PHI *CHI at DET *CLE at MIA *DAL at IND
*JAC at TEN *ATL at TB *SF at GB *CAR at SEA
DEN at KC NO at CIN *OAK at SD *PIT at BAL
*Updated WAS at NYG *BUF at MIN STL at ARI NYJ at NE

Prediction: ATL 27, TB 20

Update: Jason Snelling has missed practice the last two days and may not play this week. Roddy White was held out of practice on Wednesday merely to rest him - he is not expected to be limited in this game.

Here is the big rematch since the Falcons are 9-2 with the best record in the NFC and the Buccaneers are 7-4 and desperately need a win to keep pace with both the Falcons and Saints. The Buccaneers are only 3-2 at home while the Falcons are just 3-2 on the road. The Falcons won 27-21 in Atlanta just four weeks ago. The only losses by the Falcons were two road games against division leaders. The Buccaneers still have not beaten any team with a winning record.

Atlanta Falcons (9-2)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @PIT L 9-15 10 BAL W 26-21
2 ARI W 41-7 11 @STL W 34-17
3 @NO W 27-24 12 GB W 20-17
4 SF W 16-14 13 @TB --
5 @CLE W 20-10 14 @CAR --
6 @PHI L 17-31 15 @SEA --
7 CIN W 39-32 16 NO --
8 Bye - 17 CAR --
9 TB W 27-21 - - -
Falcons Report | Statistics | Roster
ATLANTA at TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan - - 240,2
RB Michael Turner 90,1 10 -
TE Tony Gonzalez - 60,1 -
WR Michael Jenkins - 50 -
WR Roddy White - 50 -
WR Harry Douglas - 30,1 -
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: Nice win over the visiting Packers cements the Falcons as a home warrior at 6-0 but the road games are always a bigger challenge. And the only winning record that the Falcons have beaten on the road was divisional rival Saints in week three when they were struggling and the Falcons just nipped them. A win here not only means a 10-2 record, but this will be the toughest remaining game on the schedule. The Falcons may be looking at the #1 seed in the NFC this year.

QUARTERBACK: Matt Ryan has not been as good in road games with no effort exceeding 255 yards or two scores and he's been much more likely to be sacked away from home. Ryan only passed for 235 yards and one score in the earlier game against the Buccaneers but Michael Turner scored twice in that game and that is much less likely here. Look for a solid showing by Ryan with a couple scores and moderate yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: The Falcons may be without Jason Snelling this week since he left the Packers game with a hamstring injury. His absence would likely just result in even more work for Michael Turner as it did in the game on Sunday. Turner has been just as effective in road games as home this year with three weeks topping 100 rushing yards. In the previous matchup with the Buccaneers, Turner rushed for two touchdowns on 24 carries for 107 yards.

Should the Falcons be without Snelling, it is still not likely that Turner will catch more than the one or two receptions he has each week. The rushing game has been a weakness for the Bucs this year and even at home they have already allowed four runners to top 100 rush yards while allowing five scores to visiting runners.

This should be a decent game for Turner this week who will be asked to carry the load. The Buccaneers softness against the run pretty much ensures Turner has a decent game.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Roddy White had one of his rare bad games against the Packers when he ended with just 49 yards on five catches and that mirrored the worst game he had all year when he only gained 49 yards on four catches against the visiting Buccaneers and CB Aqib Talib. That partially reflected the success that Turner was having as a rusher in that game but Talib has handled White before. One small advantage this week is that the Bucs have lost their FS Cody Grimm to a broken leg and his replacement won't be nearly as good. As always, no other wideouts matter on this team. The best wideout in the previous matchup was Michael Jenkins with only two catches for 55 yards.

This could end up as one of those rare games where White does not do well and one of the other wideouts have a score. The Bucs are very stingy on defense and at home have only allowed two players to gain more than 60 receiving yards though seven touchdowns were allowed.

TIGHT ENDS: Tony Gonzalez comes off his best game in two months when he caught six passes for 51 and one touchdown. He also had a very strong game when the Bucs showed up a month ago and gained 72 yards on a season high eight receptions in that game. Of his four scores on the season, three came in road games so Gonzalez is a strong play this week as well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 13 6 14 11 2 21
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 10 23 14 13 3 9
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) ATL -3 17 0 2 1 -12


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 CLE W 17-14 10 CAR W 31-16
2 @CAR W 20-7 11 @SF W 21-0
3 PIT L 13-38 12 @BAL L 10-17
4 Bye - 13 ATL --
5 @CIN W 24-21 14 @WAS --
6 NO L 6-31 15 DET --
7 STL W 18-17 16 SEA --
8 @ARI W 38-35 17 @NO --
9 @ATL L 21-27 - - -
Buccaneers Report | Statistics | Roster
TAMPA BAY vs ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Josh Freeman - - 220,2
RB LeGarrette Blount 60 - -
TE Kellen Winslow Jr. - 40 -
WR Mike Williams - 80,1 -
WR Arrelious Benn - 30,1 -
WR Sammie Stroughter - 40 -
PK Conner Barth 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: This is nearly a do-or-die week for the Buccaneers since a loss drops them to 7-5 with two tough road games looming and a 9-7 record probably won't get a wildcard this year. The Bucs have not beaten a team with a winning record and now the Falcons show up with the best record in the NFL. A win would actually put the Bucs in the playoff hunt even for the division since they still have a week 17 game in New Orleans. This will be the defining week for the young franchise.

QUARTERBACK: Josh Freeman is going to have to control this game and keep the Buccaneers in it. He has been good for one or two scores per game all season long and threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns in Atlanta in week nine. At home he has never passed for more than 250 yards and goes against the weakest part of the Falcons who have already allowed 19 passing scores this year.

Freeman never has that many yards but he should manage two scores in this game. If he can do more than 250 yards and a couple of scores the Bucs could win this game.

RUNNING BACKS: LeGarrette Blount has been a huge upgrade from Carnell Williams, but he still is no better than the opposing defense allows him to be. The Ravens just held him to only 55 yards on 13 carries and the 49ers kept him to just 82 yards on 26 carries. Williams still has a role and even has taken touchdowns from Blount but never enough to warrant any fantasy consideration other than in PPR leagues because he usually has about five catches per game.

Blount was held to only 46 yards on 13 carries in Atlanta while Williams only only had one catch and a total of 22 yards. The Falcons have only given up two rushing scores to running backs this year and most teams end with much less than 75 yards for their leading rusher. Even at home, Blount is only a marginal play.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Mike Williams has been the only receiver of note on this offense and his six scores on the season dwarfs all others. The oddity is that Williams has scored five times over the first five road games - one each - and yet only had one home game with a score that happened in the season opener against the Browns. In the first matchup witht the Falcons, Williams turned in four receptions for 89 yards and a score. The Buccaneers cannot hope to stay in this game without him and he already had success agaisnt the Falcons. Sammie Stroughter has never scored and has a very minimal role but Arrelious Benn is slowly starting to come along and while he only gets two or three catches per week, he has scored twice in the last four games.

I like Williams to score as nearly a lock but Benn could show up with a score as well. His first NFL touchdown came in the earlier matchup with the Falcons.

TIGHT ENDS: After being almost invisible earlier this year, Kellen Winslow Jr. has scored in two of the last three games and comes off his best showing since week five after posting six catches for 65 yards and a score on the Panthers. Winslow was held to just 31 yards on three catches in Atlanta. Winslow has been more productive but it's hard to rely on him for anything more than a moderate game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points TB 17 19 26 18 28 12
Preventing Fantasy Points ATL 24 3 30 16 1 4
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) TB 7 -16 4 -2 -27 -8

WEEK 13
2010
HOU at PHI CHI at DET CLE at MIA DAL at IND
JAC at TEN ATL at TB SF at GB CAR at SEA
DEN at KC NO at CIN OAK at SD PIT at BAL
  WAS at NYG BUF at MIN STL at ARI NYJ at NE
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