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NFC South: Atlanta Seeks Another Win, Chiefs Hope Change is Good

It’s the bye week for two NFC South teams this Sunday and only two games will enter the conversation. The Atlanta Falcons (5-0) will host the Oakland Raiders (1-3), looking to continue their perfect season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) will try to snap a three-game losing streak against the equally dismal Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) who are trying to dodge a three-game skid and play with their back up quarterback Brady Quinn as the starter.

Atltana Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders

Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Entering Week 6 with their best record in franchise history, the Falcons seem unstoppable. With a Sunday win, Falcons coach Mike Smith will tie the team record for the most wins.

But for Atlanta, their last two wins haven’t come easily (Washington Redskins 24-17 and Carolina Panthers 30-28) and have necessitated fourth quarter rallies.

Will the Raiders be a spoiler? Probably not.

Should the team lose on Sunday, Oakland will continue their disappointing season without a road win. The numbers don’t lie: the team is ranked No. 30 in scoring defense (31.2 points per game) and No. 25 in total defense at 411.5 yards a game.

For the Falcons, their Achilles heel is their run defense. By giving up 142.8 yards per game, the team is No. 27 in the league. Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee  and Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris rushed for greater than 100 yards against them.

Playing against talented quarterbacks hasn’t helped the defense but on Sunday, this could change with the Raiders seasoned quarterback Carson Palmer. To-date, he is 99 for 162 yards, 1,081 yards and five yards.

A sole bright spot for Oakland is running back Darren McFadden with 201 yards this season;  more than half came against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their sole win. Since then, he’s amassed 88 yards over three games.

But for the Falcons, they have a number of offensive weapons besides quarterback Matt Ryan. His cast of characters include running back Michael Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones.

While the Falcons will watch out for McFadden and the potential return of Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the bettors give Atlanta the win at -10 with a 48 over/under.

Tampa Bay Bucaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles

Both teams desperately need a win but for the Chiefs, they may face a greater challenge with a starting quarterback who hasn’t been the No. 1 guy in close to three years.

Welcome back Brady Quinn.

Facing a frustrated and angry fan base, the Chiefs will fortunately travel this week and try to snap a two-game losing streak.

With one win this season, the team is surprisingly ranked at No. 4 in the NFL for offense and No. 10 defensively for yards gained and allowed.

They have been challenged to score, seeing losses with a 13.5 points per game. The team’s running back Jamaal Charles has returned to form and has a NFL-high 551 yards and two touchdowns.

He shares offensive responsibilities with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has 402 yards and three touchdowns.

For the Bucs, cornerback Aqib Talib was suspended by the league on Saturday for four games. This came from violating the NFL’s policy for performance-enhancing substances.

The team will try and not skip a beat with this news but they have challenges. They lack talent and the numbers show it: No. 30 in yards per game (276), No. 20 in scoring (20.5 points per game), No. 27 in yards per game allowed (421.8), and No. 17  for points per game allowed (22.8).

Quarterback Josh Freeman hasn’t been too impressive either. To-date, he is 65 for 119, 790 yards and five touchdowns.

In the offseason, the Bucs signed free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson. He has surpassed the century mark in two games this season, accumulating 304 yards to-date and two touchdowns.

History is on Tampa’s side for the win and the bettors agree giving them -4 on a 40.5 over/under.




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