FROM THE OTHER SIDE : ATLANTA FALCONS
By Leo Haggerty

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The Falcons coming flying into Raymond James Stadium fresh off a home victory over the Packers.  That means, for the second time this season, our Atlanta correspondent, Roger Hendler, will grace us with his analysis.  Here’s what the “Guru of Georgia” has to say about the Thursday night contest between the Bucs and the Dirty Birds in Tampa.

LH : The Bucs beat the Falcons in the opener in Atlanta.  What has changed for the Dirty Birds since then positively and negatively?

RH : A couple of factors. Defense has improved and as you mentioned Beasley being used differently. Running game has been outstanding. Matty Ice using TEs more. They have improved. None a Tony Gonzales but improved.

LH : Matt Ryan is having an MVP season.  What’s changed since last year?

RH : Second season in Kyle Shanahan system with Kyle now in coaches booth in the press box and not on field.

LH : Is there a better an more dangerous wide receiver in the NFL than Julio Jones?

RH : The only other one is the Bengals A.J. Green. Ironically both in same draft and from SEC schools.  Both cut from the same mold.

LH : It seems like the Falcons have finally figured out how to use Nick Beasley.  Are you seeing that?

RH : Absolutely. As I mentioned he is now being used to his strength. Not hands on ground every down.

LH : This is right about the time last year that Atlanta went south in a hurry.  Do you expect them to be a pretender or contender in December?

RH : I do believe they’re a contender this year. Carolina has its problems this year. Bucs improved as are Saints but I believe the Falcons are better. Also s factor, Dan Quinn now in second season as head coach.

LH : Who wins and why?

RH : Falcons by 7. Due to improved field performance and to factors noted. It should be a good one.

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