|Last 3 Games||2-1||+0.7||1-2||1-2||23.0||13.0||420.3||(6.3)||2.3||21.0||14.3||331.7||(6)||0.7|
|Offense (All Games)||27.0||15.4||22.6||31:50||24-89||(3.7)||27-40||67.5%||293||(7.4)||64-382||(6)||(14.2)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||25||12.3||19.9||30:15||27-115||(4.2)||21-34||62.2%||241||(7)||62-355||(5.8)||(14.2)|
|Offense Road Games||29.6||17.6||24.6||33:22||26-96||(3.6)||29-41||70.1%||310||(7.6)||67-405||(6)||(13.7)|
|Defense (All Games)||19.3||10.8||18.2||28:10||26-130||(5)||20-32||61.8%||216||(6.8)||58-347||(6)||(18)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||21.8||10||20.2||30:13||26-108||(4.2)||23-37||62.2%||249||(6.8)||63-357||(5.7)||(16.4)|
|Defense Road Games||18.4||10.4||18.0||26:38||25-127||(5.1)||20-32||61.1%||212||(6.6)||57-340||(5.9)||(18.5)|
|Stats For (All Games)||1.2||0.2||1.4||0.5||13-6||47.0%||0-0||0.0%||1-38||(25.3)||2-12||(7.4)||4-29|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.9||0.6||1.5||1.8||13-5||37.8%||1-0||51.0%||2-56||(23.1)||22-2||(9.2)||7-53|
|Stats For (Road Games)||0.6||0.2||0.8||1.2||14-7||53.6%||1-0||0.0%||1-36||(25.4)||2-11||(7)||4-27|
|Stats Against (All Games)||1.1||0.8||1.9|| ||12-4||37.2%||0-0||40.0%||3-70||(23.3)||2-14||(7.6)||6-52|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1.1||0.8||1.9|| ||13-5||37.6%||1-0||50.6%||3-58||(22.8)||19-2||(7.9)||7-56|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||1.4||0.6||2.0|| ||12-5||45.8%||1-0||33.3%||3-75||(21.9)||2-11||(7)||4-31|
|Last 3 Games||3-0||+3||3-0||3-0||34.3||11.3||399.0||(6.6)||1.3||25.7||15.0||393.7||(5.9)||2.0|
|Offense (All Games)||28.7||13.2||18.8||30:05||27-128||(4.7)||18-32||56.4%||241||(7.5)||59-369||(6.2)||(12.9)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||25.2||11.8||20.5||31:35||27-116||(4.3)||22-35||63.8%||248||(7.1)||62-364||(5.9)||(14.4)|
|Offense Home Games||27.6||12.8||18.2||29:48||25-105||(4.2)||19-30||61.6%||272||(9)||55-377||(6.8)||(13.7)|
|Defense (All Games)||23.0||13.0||20.8||30:21||24-82||(3.5)||26-40||65.2%||312||(7.9)||63-394||(6.2)||(17.1)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||22.4||11.1||20||30:50||26-114||(4.3)||22-35||62.4%||243||(6.9)||61-357||(5.8)||(15.9)|
|Defense Home Games||20.6||14.6||20.8||30:12||25-87||(3.5)||25-36||70.6%||297||(8.2)||61-384||(6.3)||(18.6)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.7||0.4||1.1||0.9||13-4||34.4%||1-1||66.7%||2-43||(20.3)||2-16||(6.9)||7-55|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.8||0.7||1.6||1.9||13-5||39.1%||1-1||54.0%||3-58||(22.3)||21-2||(9)||6-52|
|Stats For (Home Games)||0.4||0.2||0.6||0.8||11-4||33.9%||1-1||75.0%||2-24||(14.9)||2-15||(7)||6-46|
|Stats Against (All Games)||1.5||0.5||2.0|| ||14-6||41.1%||1-0||33.3%||1-36||(24.3)||2-22||(9.6)||7-61|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1.1||0.7||1.8|| ||13-5||37.4%||1-0||50.7%||3-66||(23.9)||16-2||(7.8)||6-52|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||1.4||0.0||1.4|| ||14-6||42.6%||1-0||50.0%||1-25||(24.8)||2-16||(8.2)||6-51|
|Average power rating of opponents played: ATLANTA 17.9, TAMPA BAY 18.1|
|11/11/2012||@ NEW ORLEANS||27-31||L||-2||L||53.5||O||18-46||34-52-408||1||29-148||21-32-292||1|
|11/25/2012||@ TAMPA BAY|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|11/29/2012||NEW ORLEANS|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/9/2012||@ CAROLINA|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/16/2012||NY GIANTS|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/22/2012||@ DETROIT|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|11/25/2012||ATLANTA|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/2/2012||@ DENVER|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/9/2012||PHILADELPHIA|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/16/2012||@ NEW ORLEANS|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/23/2012||ST LOUIS|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|ATLANTA: New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter isn't nearly as run-happy as departed play-caller Mike Mularkey, so this offense won't be nearly as ground-heavy as it's been in recent seasons. Atlanta was largely a man-blocking team under Mularkey, but Koetter runs a mix of man and zone, requiring an adjustment for the offensive line. As for the backs, Michael Turner is declining, and Jacquizz Rodgers has carved out a role as a change-of-pace back who will get the ball in a variety of ways. Koetter coached 5-foot-6 Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, and while MJD is thicker, Koetter won't hesitate to use the 5-foot-6 Rodgers. Koetter tends to not mess around with a lot of play-action in the red zone, so near the goal line is where Turner will continue to earn his money. Koetter likes to get his receivers stretching the field, especially on play-action, and he's always been able to find ways to get the ball to his tight ends, which is good news for Tony Gonzalez. Roddy White should again be Matt Ryan's No. 1 target, and Julio Jones will be targeted more frequently downfield. One of Koetter's biggest challenges is to improve the screen game, which was non-existent in Atlanta. That's why Rodgers could be in for a much bigger role. He also plans on utilizing the no-huddle offense that the Falcons used effectively at times last year. The Falcons have a decent overall defense, but they lost their middle linebacker Curtis Lofton to the Saints. He'll be replaced by Sean Weatherspoon, who displayed outstanding range on the outside last season, but may take some time to adjust to the new role. The addition of CB Asante Samuel instantly improves Atlanta's secondary because he has the ability to make opposing quarterbacks pay for trying to avoid throwing at Brent Grimes, who is also an opportunistic playmaker capable of covering No. 1 receivers. DE John Abraham was the only player to surpass four sacks last season. Abraham can't keep his 10-sack production up forever, but he's still a solid tackler who has the ability to pop the football loose. Expect another productive season from the 34-year-old. |
|TAMPA BAY: The Bucs seem to be gearing up to do a lot of running this season. New head coach Greg Schiano oversaw a run-heavy team at Rutgers, and offensive line coach Bob Bostad oversaw Wisconsin's run-heavy power game among his previous jobs. They also added an elite left guard in Carl Nicks, a first-round back in Doug Martin and a great blocking wide receiver in Vincent Jackson. The Bucs will use primarily a zone-blocking scheme with a lot of inside runs. LeGarrette Blount and Martin will probably be close to a 50/50 share on early downs, with Martin taking all third down reps. While Blount will have his role greatly reduced between the 20's, he'll have a chance to keep goal line carries. New offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan's offense will be far more aggressive getting the ball downfield, which should be a nice match for Josh Freeman's arm strength and Jackson's downfield ball skills. The reads generally go deep-to-short and rarely side-to-side. So after Jackson, Freeman will more likely come down to Preston Parker than go across to Mike Williams. The Bucs also plan on using their backs in the passing game much more often, which is why they traded up into the first round to grab Martin. When Tampa throws in the red zone and down near the goal line, Jackson and Williams are the team's most capable targets. After allowing a league-high 30.9 PPG and ranking 30th in total defense, there's nowhere to go but up, right? Schiano is excited about young DLs Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn, and also No. 7 overall pick S Mark Barron, but Tampa's schedule is jam-packed with high-powered offenses. If McCoy can remain healthy'a big 'if' for a guy who has played in only 19 games over two NFL seasons'his presence should help free up Clayborn to rush the quarterback more freely and more often. McCoy is both powerful and shifty with great feet, and Schiano has said he expects the former No. 3 overall pick to dominate opponents in 2012. Barron, meanwhile, is excellent both stopping the run in the box and in pass coverage. |
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW (ATLANTA-TAMPA BAY) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Falcons-Buccaneers Preview* ============================
By BRETT HUSTON STATS Editor
The Atlanta Falcons have the inside track to home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, but it's hard to say they've looked like the conference's best club over the last month.
They won't even be the hottest team on the field Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can make a major statement by extending their winning streak to five for the first time in a decade when they face the Falcons, who have some work to do after back-to-back uneven performances.
Atlanta (9-1) has two more wins than anyone in the NFC, but it's spent most of the past two months flirting with trouble as six of its past seven games have been decided by a touchdown or fewer.
The Falcons had a close contest go the other way Nov. 11 in New Orleans, falling 31-27, and trailed for much of the day in Week 11 against Arizona. But Atlanta overcame Matt Ryan's five interceptions to beat the Cardinals 23-19, becoming the first team to win with its quarterback throwing five picks without a touchdown since Green Bay with Bart Starr in 1967.
"We're very, very fortunate," coach Mike Smith acknowledged. "You've just got to keep fighting. It's amazing. The NFL is so close."
That's certainly a reality the Bucs (6-4) could relate to during a three-game September skid in which they lost twice in the final minute, but suddenly Tampa Bay is very much a part of the postseason picture. Following three straight double-digit victories, the Bucs rallied from 11 down with six minutes left to force overtime Sunday at Carolina before winning 27-21.
"No one's coming on the sideline pointing fingers. No one's hitting the red button," receiver Vincent Jackson told the Bucs' official website. "We just continue to get back together, regroup, get with our coaches, look at the pictures, make adjustments and get ready for the next drive. As long as we continue to do that and believe in what we've been working so hard at, we'll get the result we want."
Josh Freeman has been leading the way, throwing multiple touchdown passes in six straight games while posting a 106.1 passer rating and an NFL-best 8.58 yards per attempt since Oct. 1.
The Bucs have averaged an NFC-leading 34.2 points in that stretch, and strong starts have been a key all season. Tampa Bay has scored 71 points in the first quarter - fourth-most in the NFL and already more than double what it put up in the opening 15 minutes a year ago.
"It's a collective mentality," Freeman said. "... We stay out of third-down situations that would be tough to convert, and then we convert the ones that are makeable.
"We just have to continue doing what we're doing as far as starting fast and taking the extra time throughout the week to get prepared with the opening script."
Tampa Bay is currently tied with Seattle for the NFC's second wild-card spot, but a victory Sunday could keep things interesting in the South race as it tries to win five straight for the first time since 2002.
Freeman and Jackson aren't the only reasons for the Bucs' recent offensive success. Perhaps the biggest is running back Doug Martin, who has run for 592 yards and five touchdowns over the past four weeks and against Carolina joined Adrian Peterson as the NFL's only rookies since 2000 to gain 1,000 yards in their team's first 10 games.
It's not hard to picture Martin running well again Sunday. The Falcons are allowing 5.0 yards per carry on the ground - 30th in the league - but are expected to get linebacker Sean Weatherspoon back after a three-week absence.
Atlanta does have some other significant injury concerns, most notably receiver Julio Jones (ankle) and cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder).
Even if Jones can't go, don't look for the Falcons to throw the ball any less often. Tampa Bay's defense is the NFL's best against the run (81.8 yards per game) and worst against the pass (312.6).
"They've played with a lead in a lot of different games, so teams have been forced to throw the ball against them," Ryan said. "I think that's part of why their statistics are the way they are."
Ryan's numbers were MVP-worthy prior to his disaster against the Cardinals, but he's really been on top of his game away from the Georgia Dome. He's thrown 19 touchdowns and just three picks in his last seven regular-season road games, completing 67.7 percent of his passes.
Visits to Tampa haven't been nearly as easy. Ryan has five touchdowns and seven INTs in four visits to central Florida, posting a 63.2 passer rating while going 2-2.
Freeman, meanwhile, has six TDs, 10 picks and a 62.5 QB rating while going 1-4 in his last five games against Atlanta.
|Last Updated: 9/1/2014 10:54:15 PM EST|