Quick Take: Buccaneers-Falcons

In Brief

» Last meeting: Michael Turner rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown to lead the Falcons past the Bucs, 13-10, on Dec. 14, 2008.
» Streaks: Tampa Bay has won three of the past four and has an 18-13 overall series edge.
» Last week: The Falcons came back to tie the game at the end of regulation, only to lose in OT to the Giants, 34-31. ... The Bucs started out fast, but quickly faded in a 38-7 loss to the Saints.

Keep your eye on ...Atlanta's answer to adversity: Last season, with rookie coach Mike Smith and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons were able to shock many observers by going 11-5 and earning an NFC playoff spot. During the course of 2008, however, the Falcons suffered relatively few injuries and never dipped below .500. Now, at 5-5 with a slew of injuries, Atlanta is in danger of having its first losing record in the Smith-Ryan era.

Josh Freeman's ability to bounce back: In his third start, Tampa Bay's rookie quarterback had his first troublesome outing. He threw three interceptions and looked flummoxed by the exotic blitzes thrown at him by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Atlanta does not possess the same kind of attacking defense, so Freeman may not have as hard a time finding his comfort zone this week.

Ronde Barber's savvy cornerback play: Though he might be on the downside of his career, the former Pro Bowler still has the smarts and guile to cause young quarterbacks problems. Barber intercepted Ryan the last time these teams met, and if he is able to goad Ryan into another mistake this time around, it could help the Bucs in their quest to pull off the upset.

Did you know?

Bucs WR Antonio Bryant averages 17.9 yards per catch against the Falcons. ... Aqib Talib has an interception in both of his meetings vs. Atlanta. ... Ryan is 11-1 in his career at home. ... Falcons DE John Abraham has seven sacks in his last five games against the Bucs.

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