Matt Ryan (2,715 passing yards, 19 TD, 5 INT) is 19-1 all-time at the Georgia Dome, but knows he can build on that later in the year with the focus now on getting some wins on the road. The Falcons are 6-0 at home this season, but sport a 3-2 mark away from the Georgia Dome.
In order to register a sixth straight win, which would be the franchise’s longest streak since a nine-game surge during the 1998 Super Bowl season, the Falcons received an excellent performance from Turner (974 rushing yards, 7 TD), who plowed his way to 107 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Atlanta will need another one of those types of games against a Tampa Bay’s defense which is allowing 132.5 rushing yards per game.
Since joining the Falcons as a free agent in 2008, Turner has rushed for 34 touchdowns, a total that ranks second in the NFL among running backs during that time, behind only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.
Ryan passed for 235 yards and one touchdown in the first meeting with the Bucs this season and aims for his fifth straight victory in this series. He’s been able to keep the ball out of the opposition’s hands as well, as the Falcons have not allowed a turnover in a club-record four straight games.
Over the last four weeks the Falcons have also posted a plus-six turnover differential. Wideout Roddy White (84 receptions, 1,066 yards, 7 TD) is Ryan’s top target and is aiming to resume his productive season.
The Buccaneers suffered a big injury in the secondary against the Ravens, as rookie safety Cody Grimm (57 tackles, 2 INT) was lost for the season with a broken leg suffered on an interception return by cornerback Aqib Talib. Grimm was the starter three weeks into the season after Tanard Jackson was suspended and has to be placed on injured reserve.
There are many solutions the Bucs could go with to fill the void, including moving veteran cornerback Ronde Barber (57 tackles, 1 sack, 3 INT) back to that spot. Corey Lynch (6 tackles) seems to be the most likeliest of candidates, and moving Barber out of his customary position against the likes of White and tight end Tony Gonzalez may not work to Tampa Bay’s advantage.
With Atlanta having the 13th-rated pass attack and seventh-ranked scoring offense in the league, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bucs respond in the defensive backfield. Tampa Bay linebacker and leading tackler Barrett Ruud (83 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) had a team-high nine stops last week, while Talib (38 tackles, 6 INT) recorded his team-best sixth pick of 2010. Talib was involved in an altercation with a referee after Sunday’s game as well, but won’t be fined.
Defensive end Stylez White (29 tackles) leads the team in sacks with five, while rookie tackle Gerald McCoy (27 tackles) and end Tim Crowder (24 tackles) both have three sacks.