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Friday, November 28, 2014         

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Falcons should handle Buccaneers

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

POSTED:



Some people don't believe in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite Raheem Morris' claim his team is the best in the NFC.

They are doubters despite Tampa's 5-2 record, as good as any team in the conference.

They scoff despite the Bucs' penchant for being at their best late in games as quarterback Josh Freeman, his offensive line, unheralded receivers and a big-play defense rapidly develop.

Those skeptics are the oddsmakers, who still see the Bucs as a middling team and have made them 9 1/2 -point underdogs at Atlanta in a Sunday meeting for the NFC South lead.

"This is not trash-talking. It's a mentality," Morris said of his bold proclamation. "It's a mentality before it's a reality. If you don't believe you can win, you probably won't. And I believe, and my team believes, in us."

The Falcons need to believe, too, because even with their 5-2 record, they've had one stinker (a loss at Philadelphia) and two close games at home against inferior opponents (49ers and Bengals).

Atlanta comes off a bye -- the Falcons are 11-10 after an off week -- and ranks only 27th in pass defense. It's uncertain if CB Dunta Robinson will be back after suffering a concussion in that brutal collision with Eagles WR DeSean Jackson on Oct. 17.

Bucs can make us true believers with a win. They are good enough to cover, but ...

FALCONS, 24-20

New England (minus 4) at Cleveland

For anyone who says the Patriots don't run the ball effectively and that their defense is in transition, look at last week's win over Minnesota. New England is a team on the rise, and it already has the league's best record. BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 28-12

Chicago (minus 2 1/2 ) vs. Buffalo at Toronto

After two close defeats to good teams on the road, the time has come for the winless Bills -- even if it isn't at Ralph Wilson Stadium. UPSET SPECIAL: BILLS, 14-13

N.Y. Giants (minus 5) at Seattle

As good as the Seahawks are at home, when they are this banged-up it's just not the same team. Matt Hasselbeck was dinged against Oakland, and now Charlie Whitehurst must face a defense that has knocked out five QBs. GIANTS, 27-10

Indianapolis (plus 2 1/2 ) at Philadelphia

Philly doesn't lose after a bye under Andy Reid, who is 11-0 in such situations. There has to be a first time. COLTS, 21-20

Kansas City (plus 1) at Oakland

Once again a classic matchup, with AFC West supremacy potentially on the line. The Raiders suddenly are potent on offense, and the Chiefs could struggle to keep up in a shootout. RAIDERS, 27-21

Dallas (plus 7 1/2 ) at Green Bay

Once a classic matchup, now a team with playoff designs against the most underachieving bunch in pro football, if not pro sports. PACKERS, 30-16

Pittsburgh (minus 3 1/2 ) at Cincinnati, Monday night

A year ago, the Bengals swept the Steelers and the AFC North to finish first. In prime time, the Steelers sweep the Bengals out of all playoff conversation. STEELERS, 20-10

New Orleans (minus 6 1/2 ) at Carolina

Saints have no qualms about going on the road -- they routed Tampa on their last trip. Panthers don't match up. SAINTS, 27-13

Arizona (plus 8) at Minnesota

With all the madness in Minnesota, getting back on the field will be a relief. Brett Favre, injuries and all, still is a far better choice than Arizona's Derek Anderson or Max Hall. VIKINGS, 23-13

N.Y. Jets (minus 3 1/2 ) at Detroit

Jets often play clunkers after a bye. If they lose this one, though, it's time to worry, and the Lions have plenty of bite at home. A tempting choice for upset special, but ... JETS, 14-13

Miami (plus 4) at Baltimore

If the Ravens are as good as they were pegged to be when the season began, they'll begin a string of wins here -- and hand the Dolphins their first road defeat. RAVENS, 20-13

San Diego (minus 1 1/2 ) at Houston

Did the Chargers right the ship against the Titans? Have the Texans shot their load, as it seemed in the loss to the Colts? No and No. TEXANS, 27-24

------

RECORD:
Versus spread, 8-5 (overall 60-49-1); Straight up, 6-7 (overall 73-44).
Best Bet: 4-4 against spread, 6-2 straight up. Upset Special: 6-2 against spread, 6-2 straight up.

 

AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

East
  W L T Pct PF PA
New England 6 1 0 .857 205 154
N.Y. Jets 5 2 0 .714 159 110
Miami 4 3 0 .571 133 149
Buffalo 0 7 0 .000 131 211
South
  W L T Pct PF PA
Indianapolis 5 2 0 .714 193 142
Tennessee 5 3 0 .625 224 150
Houston 4 3 0 .571 170 197
Jacksonville 4 4 0 .500 165 226
North
  W L T Pct PF PA
Baltimore 5 2 0 .714 149 129
Pittsburgh 5 2 0 .714 147 102
Cleveland 2 5 0 .286 118 142
Cincinnati 2 5 0 .286 146 163
West
  W L T Pct PF PA
Kansas City 5 2 0 .714 163 122
Oakland 4 4 0 .500 212 168
San Diego 3 5 0 .375 210 174
Denver 2 6 0 .250 154 223

 

NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

East
  W L T Pct PF PA
N.Y. Giants 5 2 0 .714 175 153
Philadelphia 4 3 0 .571 172 157
Washington 4 4 0 .500 155 170
Dallas 1 6 0 .143 154 187
South
  W L T Pct PF PA
Atlanta 5 2 0 .714 169 133
Tampa Bay 5 2 0 .714 136 163
New Orleans 5 3 0 .625 167 148
Carolina 1 6 0 .143 85 150
North
  W L T Pct PF PA
Green Bay 5 3 0 .625 176 136
Chicago 4 3 0 .571 126 114
Minnesota 2 5 0 .286 129 144
Detroit 2 5 0 .286 183 165
West
  W L T Pct PF PA
Seattle 4 3 0 .571 123 140
St. Louis 4 4 0 .500 140 141
Arizona 3 4 0 .429 133 198
San Francisco 2 6 0 .250 137 178

 

Week 9

Sunday
» Chicago vs. Buffalo at Toronto, 8 a.m.
» N.Y. Jets at Detroit, 8 a.m.
» Miami at Baltimore, 8 a.m.
» San Diego at Houston, 8 a.m.
» Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 8 a.m.
» New Orleans at Carolina, 8 a.m.
» New England at Cleveland, 8 a.m.
» Arizona at Minnesota, 8 a.m.
» N.Y. Giants at Seattle, 11:05 a.m.
» Kansas City at Oakland, 11:15 a.m.
» Indianapolis at Philadelphia, 11:15 a.m.
» Dallas at Green Bay, 3:20 p.m.
» Open: Denver, Washington, St. Louis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Tennessee

Monday
» Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m.

 

WEEK 10

Thursday
» Baltimore at Atlanta, 3:20 p.m.

Nov. 14
» Detroit at Buffalo, 8 a.m.
» Minnesota at Chicago, 8 a.m.
» Houston at Jacksonville, 8 a.m.
» Tennessee at Miami, 8 a.m.
» New York Jets at Cleveland, 8 a.m.
» Cincinnati at Indianapolis, 8 a.m.
» Carolina at Tampa Bay, 8 a.m.
» Kansas City at Denver, 11:05 a.m.
» St. Louis at San Francisco, 11:15 a.m.
» Seattle at Arizona, 11:15 a.m.
» Dallas at New York Giants, 11:15 a.m.
» New England at Pittsburgh, 3:20 p.m.
» Open: Green Bay, New Orleans, Oakland, San Diego

Nov. 15
» Philadelphia at Washington, 3:30 p.m.

 






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