The first two weeks of the Buccaneers 2011 season was spent revisiting division rivals of old. This week, the Bucs prepare to renew their division rivalry of new.
The Atlanta Falcons come to the Ray-J this Sunday to kickoff NFC South matchups this year. It’s a big game for both teams; both sit at 1-1, both are coming off big time wins last week, and both need to get back on track to try and repeat their success of last year.
It’s hard to say who needs this game more. The Falcons may be the team that is more rounded but they also have the steeper hill to climb to be the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs again. Tampa doesn’t have such an expectation to fulfill but achieving ten wins isn’t an easy thing to do and with an up and down schedule in terms of talent for the Bucs, every win helps.
That being said, divisional matchups have their stakes raised to unprecedented heights. This week 3 showdown with Hotlanta gives the Bucs a nice chance to not only get back on pace to out-do last season, but they can bury the Falcons early in the season. A win by Tampa on Sunday would put them at 2-1 and the Falcons at 1-2. We all know how explosive the Falcons are and how good they are when they’re hot so any breathing room that can be secured early will pay off later in the season if things get tight.
Beating Atlanta, as the Bucs well know, is easier said than done.
The Bucs under Raheem Morris have yet to beat the Falcons, but have each time come closer and closer to doing so. Last season the Bucs lost two heartbreakers in very close games to the Falcons, with both games coming down to the final minutes of the game.
Last week can be viewed as the Bucs getting back into the “Josh Freeman Set Us Free” state of mind where all faith can be invested into him if the game is on the line. But the comparisons stop dead when comparing the Vikings to the Falcons.
Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez.
Those names have the potential and the talent to make you wish you weren’t on the field with them. It will be a tall task for the Bucs to stop them this