Line: Falcons -7

In this Thursday night matchup we have two teams coming off very disappointing games last week. The Falcons are a team built to pass the football with star receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White along with the speedy Devin Hester and Harry Douglas. The loss of tight end Tony Gonzalez was supposed to be offset by the performance of this new receiving core. It showed what it could do in week one and then proceeded to show that it’s still a work in progress with a very disappointing week 2. Tampa Bay has looked really bad on offense for the first 2 games. New starting quarterback Josh McCown has not been impressive thus far throwing for only 362 total yards and 3 interceptions. You would think he would have better production with wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

This is not the start to the season that new coach Lovie Smith envisioned when he took the team over. They lost to the Rams on Sunday despite the fact that the Rams were down to their third string quarterback. The loss dropped them to 2-0 with nothing resembling an offense to speak of. The hope is that the team has played against two strong defenses in Carolina and Saint Louis and the defenses they face in the coming weeks wont be as difficult. They will be without the services of injured starting running back Doug Martin again in week 3. Bobby Rainey took his place in the starting lineup and was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance. He gained 144 yards rushing on the ground to go along with 30 as a pass catcher. He has fond memories of the Falcons defense as he shredded them for 163 rushing yards last season. Hopefully an improved overall offense will lead to more points than the 31 they have combined for in the season’s first two games. The defense will be hoping that the injury to Gerald McCoy is not season ending, which would further weaken an already unimpressive defense.

The Falcons offense has looked like two different teams in the seasons first two weeks. Quarterback Matt Ryan had 448 yards passing in week 1 and followed that up with 231 yards passing and three interceptions. This week’s matchup against a week Tampa Bay defense might be just what the doctor ordered for the offense. Their own defense is a different problem; it gave up 300 passing yards to a Bengals offense that was without star receiver A.J Green. The lack of a running game has hurt their offense as Steven Jackson has totaled 98 yards in the two games. They will need to find away to establish the run on offense as well as stop the run on defense as they have allowed 155 yards a game on the ground thus far. It’s a tough game to call at Tampa Bay has been horrific on offense and Atlanta has been awful on defense. It appears that whatever team can correct that flaw will win the game.

Pick: Buccaneers +7

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