Atlanta is 6-2 against the Bucs under Mike Smith

Special teams could be the difference

TAMPA - Here we are, Atlanta coming to town 9-1 against the 6-4 Buccaneers.

The opening line on this game was Pick'em.

It has since tilted towards the Falcons.  They are now – 1 ½ points in Vegas.

I'm guessing a pile of money has been dropped on ATL this week.

That goes to show that there still are plenty of doubters out there nationwide.

Don't get me wrong, Atlanta is a very good team.

Under Mike Smith, ATL has been very good, winning six of eight games.

I'm not really sure how much of country had a chance to see the Bucs win over Carolina last Sunday.

Very impressive against a team that lost its finish, even more impressive than ATL's win over Arizona.

They came back as well, despite Matt Ryan's five interceptions.

Both Ryan and Josh Freeman had sub-par games, until it counted late.

That leads me to believe that both QB's will be ON Sunday afternoon.

Looking for a high scoring game?  Might have one.

Here's the NFL rankings of the two teams:

FALCONS OFFENSE -- OVERALL (7), RUSH (28), PASS (3)

FALCONS DEFENSE -- OVERALL (18), RUSH (26), PASS (10)

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE -- OVERALL (10), RUSH (9), PASS (14)

BUCCANEERS DEFENSE -- OVERALL (29), RUSH (1), PASS (32)

What is really impressive about Matt Ryan is that he's thrown for almost 1,600 yards, 13 TD's, and two interceptions in five games against NFC South opponents.

What's impressive about Josh Freeman and the Bucs offense is that they've scored a league-high 205 points over the past six weeks.

The real difference between these two teams is points allowed.  ATL is allowing about four fewer a game.

So, that tells me that the Bucs have to come up with one, maybe two turnovers that turn into points, or negate points to get the Bucs on top when this one is over Sunday.

Can they do it?  Yes, but it may not come from the Bucs defense.  I'm looking at special teams. 

Blocked punt, maybe a field goal?  Not taking that out of the equation at all.

Special teams will be so very important Sunday.

It seems to be, in more cases than not when these two teams meet.

What I also like about the Bucs is that they get positive pub on one hand, and shadows of doubt in the other.

That's good.

Keeps a chip on their shoulder.

I like teams with a little edge.  Plus, I like that this game is being played at Raymond James Stadium, sold out or not.

ATL is the more seasoned team, but in the end will they prove to be the better of the two around 4pm Sunday?

I say no. I'm going with the boys once again this week. 

TK's Pick:  Bucs – 1 ½

TK vs. Spread  6-4

P.S. (Bucs are 7-2-1 against the spread this year)

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