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Point-Counterpoint: Week 9

By: Daniel Cox | November 2nd, 2010 Recommend Print Enlarge Text Every week there’s a rush of information in the days leading up to gameday. Bloggers, TV analysts, reporters, fans … everyone has an opinion, and in the age of hyper-speed new media, everyone’s got a chance to share it.

But sometimes it’s tough to focus through all the noise.

Here we examine three storylines entering Week 9 that you’ll surely hear all about. We present the flipside — the ideas from inside the walls of team headquarters — to suggest what the Atlanta Falcons are thinking of the popular headlines.

What they will say: At 3-0 this season on the road, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are road warriors. Last week’s road win was a shootout, a 38-35 win over the Cardinals, and the upstart Bucs could be ready to come into the Georgia Dome looking for an upset win.

What we’re saying: Under head coach Mike Smith the Falcons are 16-3 at home and are a completely different team than they are anywhere else in the NFL. With a Georgia Dome crowd advantage and a bye week of rest and preparation Atlanta will not lack the necessary intensity to defend their turf.

What they will say: The Falcons have heard Bucs head coach Raheem Morris’ proclamation that his team is the best in the NFC. Some will say Atlanta will pin the statement throughout Flowery Branch to get the team motivated for a tie-breaking NFC South showdown.

What we’re saying: It’s no secret by now, but the Falcons are as even-keel as they come, a trait influenced by Smith, who recently had this to say about Morris’ statement:

“My thoughts are solely on improving our football team and that’s how I approach it each and every week. We’re going to take it one day at a time and we look at what we can do to get better as a football team. It really to me, it doesn’t matter where you’re at each and every week it’s changing, its ever-changing. One week you can be up in someone’s mind as the best team and the next week you can be down the list. Our thought as a football team is to continue to improve each and every week. We have some internal goals of where we want to be and the timeline on those goals are into December and January.”

After a tough loss to the Eagles in Week 6 the Falcons know better than anyone what it’s like to fall back to the NFC pack. Smith’s words may be translated as coach speak, but his team buys into it and approaches each game as if it were their last. There’s little room for bulletin board material in your locker room when your own goals are posted everywhere.

What they will say: The Falcons’ experienced and talented offense should have no problem against Tampa Bay’s young defense, which has given up 38, 31 and 35 to Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Arizona.

What we’re saying: Ask the Falcons about the Bucs’ defense and they’ll tell you they lead the league with 14 interceptions. They’ll remind you that the savvy veteran Ronde Barber, with two interceptions, starts opposite one of the best young corners in the game, Aqib Talib, whose five interceptions is second in the NFL. The 24-year-old defensive back is coming off a game in which he had two picks, one returned for a 45-yard touchdown.

Talented, yes. Naive, no. Atlanta knows what drives Tampa’s defensive effort.

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I imagine the Falcons have a few tricks up their sleeves, but tricks are not what will be needed on Sunday; good solid defense and a front line that's like a stonewall will insure a victory for the Dirty Birds.

I predict that Atlanta will intercept the ball four times this game; two in each half. Atlanta needs to guard against fumbles and penalties which could dog them during the game.

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Consistent pass rush against Josh Freeman will be the key if we can do that it will force him into mistakes and stop the run I no its a cliche but stopping the run and making them 1 dimensional makes us better.

Offensively protect Ryan and start fast if we do that I think we can really rack up a score against the Buc's.

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Right. Smitty is challenging our team to get better because he knows we haven't played to our abilities yet while that ridiculous Morris is telling his team they have already arrived. I guess they don't need to practice much or work on techniques since they are already the best.

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