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Sunday, September 14, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 3: Buccaneers Vs. Falcons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. Atlanta Falcons: ATL -6.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

The look-ahead line for this one was Falcons -5.5, but it re-opened at -6.5 after the dust settled in Week 2. Since Atlanta got owned in Cincinnati, this move is a clear sign of market disrespect for the Bucs - who somehow found a way to lose to a backup QB for the second week in a row. If you want +7, there are a few of them available if you shop around. So far 77% of the early bets are on the home team.

Bottom Line

Nobody went to Cincy and covered a point spread last year, so I'm not holding that against the Falcons. They have enough advantages to win this game by at least a TD, so it's just a matter of taking care of business.

The Bucs defense looked fantastic on paper heading into the season, but it hasn't exactly gone according to script yet. Now they have to travel to Atlanta on a short week to try and shut down Matt Ryan with an undermanned unit. Foster is doubtful, Bowers and M Johnson are banged up, and G McCoy has a broken hand. If this DL can't get pressure, I expect Koetter to have a field day building schemes through the air - especially if they get rookie Jake Matthews back at LT (which is looking likely).

On the flip side, I should be able to just say Josh McCown and leave it at that, but it's not all bad for the TB offense. Rainey was a beast against the Rams and it makes you wonder how Martin's role will be affected if he's healthy enough to play. They also go up against an Atlanta defense that can't rush the passer without bringing extra guys. I expect the Falcons to let Alford and Trufant man up while they try exotic looks up front, but I don't know how effective that will be. They should be ok if they can work with a lead, but this is the NFL ... so I'm not exactly holding my breath.

NFL Pick: ATL -6.5.

Read more: Week 3 picks
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