The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter chats with CineSport’s Noah Coslov about whether Matt Ryan still gives the Falcons the best chance to win and what has changed since the Week 8 loss to the Bucs.
1. PLAYERS ONLY MEEETiNG HELD: In midst of four-game losing streak, the Falcons held a players-only meeting on Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was told by a team official Tuesday night.
1b. BUCS PLAN PLAYOFF PUSH: The Falcons run defense, which is now ranked 10th (96.8 yards per game), faces another stiff challenge. Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin ranks second in the NFL in rushing behind Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson with 1,034 yards. Martin is on pace for career-high 1,509 yards. The Falcons’ run defense was ranked No. 1 in the league before Peterson broke loose Sunday for 158 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. The Falcons had a season-high 15 missed tackles against the Vikings.If the Falcons don’t make the playoffs, their collapse would be historic. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, 66 of 72 teams (91.7 percent) that started 5-0 went on to make the playoffs, according to STATS research. The only teams that did not make the playoff after starting 5-0 were the 2009 Denver Broncos (8-8), the 2009 New York Giants (8-8), the 2003 Minnesota Vikings (9-7), the 1993 New Orleans Saints (8-8) and the 1987 Washington Redskins (8-8).
3. NEEDING A SOLID: The Falcons can climb back into the sixth position if Minnesota can beat Seattle and the Falcons can beat the Bucs.
4. POWER RANKINGS: The Falcons slipped from 16th to 17th in the AJC’s NFL Power Rankings.
5. SERIES: This will be the 45th regular season meeting between the Falcons and the Buccaneers. The series is tied, 22-22. The Buc defeated the Falcons 23-20 in overtime on Nov. 1 at the Georgia Dome. They are going for their first sweep of the Falcons since 2010.
MINNESOTA GAME COVERAGE — Vikings 20, Falcons 10
FROM THE FIRST MEETING — TAMPA BAY GAME COVERAGE — Bucs 23, Falcons 20 in OT