The Atlanta Falcons have allowed more yards than any team in the league and is the only team yet to register a sack. Looks like smooth sailing for their opponent on NFL Thursday Night Football. But wait–the Falcons opponent is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 35-year-old quarterback Josh McCown and the Bucs could be hard-pressed to take advantage of Atlanta’s porous D. The (0-2) Bucs are the second-worst passing team in the NFL so far. And there’s still time! They could still become the worst.
But the Buccaneers have run the football pretty well: fun-to-watch Bobby Rainey gained 144 yards in a 19-17 loss to the Rams last week. And the Matt Ryan-led Falcons offense ran like a brand new BMW in a week 1 victory against the Saints, 37-34. Then the Falcons managed only 10 points against the stingy Bengals at home. (That Paul Brown Stadium is a hard place to play.) The Thursday night Falcons v. Buccaneers is a conference game–the third in a row for Tampa Bay. If the Bucs don’t win tonight, it’s going to be a very long season. (It’s just week 3, but three conference losses won’t be easy to make up.) The Bucs sure would like to be at home. But they’re not–the game’s in Atlanta, where Ryan is far more comforable. The Falcons are giving 6.5 points in Las Vegas. The money has been moving the Falcons way too–the game opened with the Falcons just a 5.5 point favorite. New Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith is already getting the pressure to unleash his weapons. Smith may know something others don’t: that his team doesn’t have them. 8:25 EST on CBS, Thursday night.