Sports

2012 NFL Week 12 Preview: Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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It's been a slow week here at the Grits Blitz as we've been filling our bellies full of turkey and hoping that the Falcons can pull out of this funk that they have been in recently. That sounds weird for a 9-1 team, doesn't it? I bet the Jets (4-7) sure wish that their funk had a 9-1 smell to it.

Anyway, this is a big divisional game with the Bucs. The Falcons come into this game 1-1 in the division and the Bucs are 2-1. Basically the Falcons and the Bucs are a combined 3-0 against the lowly Carolina Panthers and 0-2 against the Saints. It's an important game because with a win the Bucs can pull to within two games of the Falcons in the NFC South.

One of the more interesting things in this game is that it pits strength against weakness in two different areas. First, the Bucs are 9th in the league at 128.9 yards rushing per game and the Falcons are 26th at stopping the run. The Falcons will have their hands full in stopping the Bucs running attack and rookie Doug Martin, who is fourh in the NFL with 1000 yards rushing on the season. Sean Weatherspoon could be a big key for the Falcons in this area. He returned to practice earlier this week and Rotoworld says he's on track to play. The Falcons will have to at least contain the Bucs running game to keep the defense fresh and to get the ball to Matt Ryan and the offense so they can take advantage of the Bucs secondary.

The second area is a positive for the Falcons. The Falcons are 4th in the league in passing yards at 292.9 yards per game and the Bucs are 32nd in the league giving up 312.6 yards per game. As of the latest information, Julio Jones is questionable for the game and NFL.com speculates that the more points are put on the board, the more we will see Jones play on Sunday. A no-brainer for the Falcons is that Matt Ryan needs to limit his INTs, which he had 5 of last week! Look for a bounce back week this week for Matty Ice.

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This should be a typically tight divisional match-up. Out of the last six match-ups in this series, five of the games have been decided by ten points or less. The good news for the Falcons? We have won six of the last seven in this series. Let's hope we can make it seven of eight.

Get more great Atlanta Falcons news and analysis over at The Grits Blitz.