5 things we learned about the Falcons on Tuesday

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.

Falcons running back Tevin Coleman finds some running room against the Vikings during the first half in a football game on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson finds some running room against the Falcons during the first half on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Atlanta.
Curtis Compton

FLOWERY BRANCH — Here are the five things we learned Tuesday about the Falcons (6-5), who play at Tampa Bay (5-6) in a big NFC South game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

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.

Meet the Falcons cheerleaders: Alexandria

Falcons cheerleader Alexandria, a two-year veteran of the squad, is a registered nurse. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

Falcons cheerleader Alexandria, a two-year veteran of the squad, is a registered nurse. (Curtis Compton/Ccompton@ajc.com)

2. HISTORIC COLLAPSE: 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

5 things we learned from the 20-10 loss to the Vikings

What the Falcons had to say after the loss

12 comments from Dan Quinn on the Falcons’ loss

Ryan goes into detail about his interceptions

Quarter-by-Quarter: How the Falcons lost 20-10 to the Vikings

White feels team got complacent after 5-0 start

Falcons rookie Coleman fumbles again

Falcons defense pulling its weight

Falcons fans jeer Ryan after his second interception

FROM THE FIRST MEETING — TAMPA BAY GAME COVERAGE — Bucs 23, Falcons 20 in OT

5 things we learned in the Falcons’ 23-20 loss to the Bucs

How the Falcons lost to the Bucs in OT

10 comments from Dan Quinn after the loss to the Bucs

Adams disagreed with overtime pass interference call

Matt Ryan’s miscues help to gift the Bucs’ 20 points

QUOTEBOARD: What the Falcons were saying after the 23-20 loss to the Bucs

Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston bests his role model: ‘Mr. Ryan’

Falcons defense holds up, but forces no turnovers

Falcons rallied behind wide receiver Julio Jones

Bucs rookie linebacker Alexander dedicates win to deceased brother


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