NFL Preview: Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While the Atlanta Falcons were picked as the preseason favorites to go to the Super Bowl, the expectations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were much more modest, as many experts believed that they would get their first playoff berth since 2007. Although the Falcons and the Buccaneers started off their year with polar opposite expectations, they will have much in common when they meet for the first time this season.
As the Falcons prepare to compete against their division foe in the Buccaneers, both teams are not only underachieving greatly, but they are living a nightmare in a season that started with so much hope. While the Falcons record may be misleading, they head into Week 7 with a 1-4 record and hope that they can get a victory after their bye week.
What started out to be a Super Bowl or Bust season, through five games, the Falcons season has indeed been heading toward a complete “Bust,” as their team has been derailed with countless injuries and dramatizing losses. With their latest game against the New York Jets, the Falcons yet again proved that they could be the best team in the NFL in losing games in a fashionable manner.
The Falcons lost 30-28, and to make matters worse, they ended up losing their most dynamic player in Julio Jones for the rest of the 2013 season.
Although the Falcons’ team has been decimated with injuries, they will have a chance to start the second half of their season on the right foot, as they will be going up against a winless Buccaneers team that cut ties with their former franchise quarterback Josh Freeman.
The Falcons couldn’t ask for a more perfect team to play against, as they try to get back on their feet and head into the right direction. While the Buccaneers have been a terrible team so far, the Falcons have a tendency to struggle against mediocre teams and getting a single victory has been very difficult.
The Falcons will focus on re-establishing their ground attack to help assist their passing game, where Matt Ryan may have two new targets on the outside that don’t have the title of “Pro Bowler.” Though the Buccaneers have been playing terrible offensively, they are a much better defensive team in stopping the run and passing attack.
While the Buccaneers were hoping to capture their first victory after their bye in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, not only did they end up with their fifth loss of the season, but they got rid of Freeman and made way for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
With Glennon at the helm, the Buccaneers did show some life, but ironically, their much-improved defense allowed Nick Foles to end up with four total touchdowns, with three through the air and one with his legs.
Things are starting to look ugly in Tampa, but their chances of winning their first game looks good. As they prepare to take on the banged-up Falcons, Glennon may have some room to throw against a poor defensive unit that has made terrible offenses come to life.
When these two teams meet, Ryan and the Falcons will try to make one last run in making the playoffs, while Glennon and his Buccaneers will try to seek their first win and avoid being 0-6.
On Sunday, one team will get a chance for a fresh start and a small chance to salvage their season, while the other team will continue to sink and make headlines for all the wrong reasons.