NFL Gridiron Gab Week Nine Preview: Tampa Bay at Atlanta

Raheem is a bold, bold man

Prepare for a brawl.

Roddy White has misinterpreted the quotes from Raheem Morris and set off a firestorm in which he belittled Tampa Bay. Big words coming from someone whose quarterback is Matt Ryan. Just sayin’.

When Tampa Bay is running: Get plowed or get out of the way. LeGarrette Blount seemingly energized the offensive line the last two weeks. Atlanta has faced some good running attacks and allowed 4.1 yards per carry. Edge: Tampa Bay, slightly.

When Tampa Bay is passing: Freeman is coming off one of his best games (with one of his biggest mistakes, the sack he took in the fourth quarter). Atlanta features one elite player on defense, in my opinion, in Johnathan Babineaux. John Abraham can get after the quarterback, William Moore has 4 INT, and Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson are decent. But, that said, I’ll be surprised if Tampa Bay doesn’t churn up the yards and get at least 17 points on this defense. Edge: Tampa Bay, slightly.

When Atlanta is running: They average 4.2 yards a carry but have a fast, physical gamebreaker in Michael Turner (4.5 ypc, . The Bucs run defense is still terrible. Edge: Atlanta, strongly.

When Atlanta is throwing: The Bucs may get a lot more hurries than sacks, but their pass rush is doing enough for the secondary to get 14 interceptions. Matt Ryan had a bad three-week stretch with more turnovers than touchdowns and under 60% completion twice. I think he’s still capable of being a good quarterback but – outside of White and Gonzalez- doesn’t have great weapons from 20 to 20. I’d love for someone to pick him early and get in his head. I think the edge stems from Mike Mularkey’s play-calling. Edge: Atlanta, slightly.

Prediction: I really hope Tampa Bay wins this game. It may open things up, get the fanbase to the Stadium and help them to the playoffs the end of the year. That said, I think Atlanta wins a close one. Atlanta 28, Tampa Bay 21.

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