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NFL Week 15 Preview: Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta

NFL Week 15 Wagering – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

The stakes couldn’t be higher in Week 15 betting affairs in the NFL, and online betting aficionados will get another chance to sink their teeth into a fantastic NFL match-up when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-4, 7-6 ATS) invade the Georgia Dome to do battle with the Atlanta Falcons (8-5, 8-5 ATS).  

The winner of this game will have a huge leg up on catching Carolina atop the NFC South, and will also be in prime position to capture one of the two Wild Card slots in the conference. The loser will have a long uphill climb to reach the second season with just two more games to play.

The Bucs crushed Atlanta 24-9 earlier this season at Raymond James Stadium in a game that many felt exposed the Falcons as frauds. With just three weeks to go in the regular season though, Atlanta is still firmly in the playoff picture, but it must reverse its recent fortunes against Tampa Bay in a hurry. The Falcons are 0-3 SU and ATS against the Bucs since ’07, and have been outscored in those three games by a composite score of 92-19.

Tampa Bay had a chance to put a chokehold on the NFC South in Carolina on Monday night, but literally ran into a buzz saw, losing 38-23 and sending its football bettors to a second consecutive defeat. A defense, which had been stout all season, was mauled, giving up 19 carries for 186 yards to RB DeAngelo Williams and 15 carries for 115 yards to RB Jonathan Stewart. Both backs recorded two touchdowns on the night.

Offensively for the Bucs, the day belonged to WR Antonio Bryant, who hauled in nine balls for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Aside from connections with Bryant, QB Jeff Garcia only managed to throw for 121 yards and no scores. “Buc Ball” seems to be a thing of the past in Tampa Bay, as the Bucs are averaging 26.6 points per game in their L/5, but surprisingly, the defense is allowing 23.6 points per game during that same stretch.

This could be Atlanta’s last stand. After losing 29-25 in New Orleans last weekend, the Falcons are a game behind Tampa Bay and two behind Carolina with three games to go. A loss to the Bucs will mean that the only chance they have left of qualifying for the playoffs would be as the #6 seed, a position hotly contested by the Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins, Saints, and Bears.

QB Matt Ryan has been the difference this year for Atlanta. It almost seems like a formality that he will win Rookie of the Year honors, and could be in consideration for the MVP award as well if he can get the red and black into the playoffs. He’ll reach the 3,000-yard plateau this week with just 60 yards passing.

RB Michael Turner has his eyes on a rushing title, as he is in second place in the NFL with 1,269 yards, but against the Bucs defense, the sledding will be tough. Sunday’s loss to New Orleans snapped a string of six out of eight games in which the Falcons beat the NFL betting line.

Oddsmakers have installed the Falcons as three-point home favorites with the game ‘total’ coming in at 44.5.

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