FROM THE OTHER SIDELINE : FALCONS
By Leo Haggerty & Roger Hendler
Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta for a National Football Conference South division contest with the Falcons. Bucs versus Dirty Birds. That’s all I need to say about that.
This week we have our NFC South correspondent Roger Hendler giving us the inside scoop on the Falcons. Enjoy his analysis of this weeks match-up.
LH : Roger, with the way the Falcons gave away the Super Bowl to the Patriots, I wasn’t surprised with their slow start this season. Were you?
RH : Leo, I was not. Look at past history as to the many teams losing a SB don’t make the playoffs the following season. Team personnel is rarely the same two years in a row.
LH : With that being said, with the win Monday night in Seattle, I think Atlanta has got the ship righted and the Dirty Birds will be a tough out the rest of the season. What’s your thoughts on that?
RH ; I like you believe they are on the right path and will be tough to handle the rest of the 2017 campaign.
LH : In the National Football League, you never stay the same. You either improve or digress. Is your analysis of QB Matt Ryan’s performance for this season better or worse than last year?
RH : I believe it is down due to a new OC as Kyle Shanahan is now the HC of SF. Steve Sarkasian replaced him. Historically there is always an adjustment when a change like this occurs.
LH : DE Adrian Clayborn had a career day against the Cowboys with six sacks. Oh, and by the way for the uninformed, that the same guy the Buccaneers let walk because he couldn’t rush the passer. Do you expect #99 to spend a lot of time harassing Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick Sunday?
RH : I do. This was not only a career day but I believe a Falcon record. #99 is at the top of his game.
LH : I know the Falcons are in third place in the National Football Conference South division but I wouldn’t be surprised if they came back and Ion the division. I definitely have them going to the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Do you think Atlanta is still playing in January?
RH : I do. The NO Saints will be tough but I don’t believe they are as good as they have looked and they have a tough schedule the balance of the season. They have the Rams, Panthers, and Falcons the next three weeks. The last game of the season is against the Falcons. Watch out for Carolina.
LH : OK, Roger, it’s time to go on the record. I’m picking Atlanta 30-27 with a late FG but I would not be surprised if the result was reversed. Your call, my friend?
RH : I predict 30 to 24, Atlanta.