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Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay NFL Preview: Week 13 Free Pick

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Week 13 NFL Gambling & Free Predictions

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Week 13: Falcons vs Buccaneers Preview & Pick

Date: Sunday, December 5, 2010
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Broadcast: FOX
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Lines at Betus.com
Money Line: Falcons -145, Buccaneers +125
Spread: Falcons -3
Over/Under: 44.5
Atlanta Falcons (9-2)
Bet now @ BetUs.com!

Another week, another win for the rolling Falcons, who knocked off another powerhouse team and improved to 19-1 at home with Matt Ryan as quarterback last Sunday.

Everything about last week’s win over Green Bay looked like a signature Atlanta performance. The Falcons bent plenty on defense, surrendering 341 passing yards, but didn’t break, holding the Pack to 17 points; they ran the ball with authority, as Michael Turner tallied 110 yards and a score; Matt Ryan was efficient in somewhat of a game manager role, going 24 of 28 for 197 yards and a touchdown; and they relied on crucial takeaways, recovering an Aaron Rodgers fumble on the goal line to turn what looked like a sure Packer touchdown into zero points.

Even on the road this week, we should expect a very similar effort from Atlanta. The Bucs’ pass defense is vastly improved and specializes in interceptions but they’re still suspect against the run, so Michael Turner should get 25 to 30 carries.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)

The Bucs didn’t win last week but they can hold their heads high. They weren’t expected to win at Baltimore but they stayed close and actually beat the spread at virtually every book, losing 17-10. Last week did expose a bit of vulnerability in the Bucs, however. Trailing by a pair of scores for much of the game, Tampa was forced to pass and Baltimore knew it.

As a result, Josh Freeman wasn’t as effective as normal. He threw a TD pass but went just 17 of 37 for 162 yards. He’s had a fantastic season but still hasn’t reached the level of an elite quarterback who can gunsling and toss up a 300-yard effort when his team is trailing, as Aaron Rodgers did for the Pack last week. LeGarrette Blount also wasn’t as explosive in the backfield last week, probably because he only got 13 carries and couldn’t find a rhythm.

The pick:

This game should come down to who seizes the driver’s seat first. The Falcons and Bucs deploy a very similar strategy: get up early, run the ball, force the opponent to pass, try to ballhawk. Atlanta and Tampa are 20th and 15th in the NFL in total defense, respectively, but they’re fourth and second in picks. The team that gets on top early will likely pound the ball on the ground and try to avoid turnovers.

I like Atlanta to win in what could be a carbon copy of last week’s effort. Michael Turner should batter the Bucs’ 27th-ranked run defense and we saw last week that Freeman isn’t always effective when teams know he has to pass. The slightly more experienced, slightly more talented Falcons should prevail – but it won’t be easy. Tampa is legit.

Falcons vs Buccaneers prediction: Falcons 28, Buccaneers 21

Money Line: Falcons -145
Spread: Falcons -3
Over/Under: OVER 44.5

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.