The Atlanta Falcons head into their week 17 match up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers nursing a few injuries. Honestly, since Atlanta has their spot in the playoffs wrapped up and Tampa Bay has nothing to play for except next season, it would not hurt Atlanta to rest all of the guys on the injury report. Nevertheless, because of the momentum they have had the last few games, those who can go should go.
Two guys who won’t be going are cornerback Christopher Owens and safety William Moore. Owens and Moore are both out with hamstring injuries, and you kind of need those to be effective in the secondary. The Falcons secondary should be able to manage without them given that Tampa is not exactly a proficient passing powerhouse. More importantly, Atlanta will need these guys at full strength in the playoffs since most of the teams who are in have great passing attacks.
Also injured on the defensive side of the ball are Corey Peters, Cliff Matthews and Jonathan Babineaux, all of whom are listed as questionable. Peters is dealing with a knee injury while Matthews has issues with his hamstring. Atlanta might miss these guys in helping them defend against the Bucs rushing attack led by Doug Martin. Babineaux, on the other hand, is listed with an injury to his ribs. Babineaux is a key cog for the Falcons defensively, so even if his ribs only hurt a little bit, he should sit this one out, so he can be well rested for the playoffs. The last thing Atlanta needs is for Babineaux to re-injure those ribs against a 6-9 Bucs squad who is getting ready to go on vacation.
Roddy White is the only offensive player on the Falcons injury report and is still dealing with a knee injury. White did play a heck of a game against the Detroit Lions last week and it would be nice to keep the chemistry going between Matt Ryan and him. However, they should limit his participation in this game. More than likely, Atlanta will use him as a decoy to free up Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, which would be smart. Again, the Bucs aren’t going anywhere but home after this game.
Of course, this time of year everyone is injured but these guys should definitely be careful heading into the post-season. The Falcons have done a great job of staying relatively healthy, which has helped them achieve the success they have had this year. If that is to continue, Atlanta must remain healthy. After all, the last thing fans want to hear from them if they lose in the playoffs is they weren’t at full strength.