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TNF: Falcons vs Buccaneers

An NFC battle with playoff implications in Tampa Bay.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday Night Football, week 9. Tonight we have a NFC South matchup. The 5-3 Atlanta Falcons travel to Tampa Bay, Florida to take on the 3-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This game features veteran Matt Ryan at quarterback having a career year for the Falcons. Halfway through the year Ryan has a superb 116 passer rating and is on pace for nearly 5300 yards passing. Ryan is aided by his star running back Devonta Freeman and his All World receiver Julio Jones. The Falcons on offense rank first in yards, first in points and first in the hearts of their Atlanta countrymen.

Ryan's counterpart with the Buccaneers, quarterback Jameis Winston, is one of the up and coming quarterbacks in the league who the Buccaneers hope will develop into a franchise quarterback for years to come. Winston has struggled thus far in 2016, turning the ball over too much. He has his own top target in budding star receiver Mike Evans. Tampa Bay's star running back Doug Martin has been sidelined by injury and is replaced in the lineup by veteran back Jacquizz Rogers.

The Falcons come into tonight's game looking for revenge for a home loss dealt to them by the Buccaneers in the season opener. Tampa Bay comes into this contest winners of two of their last three games, while the Falcons are losers of two of their last three. A loss tonight by Tampa Bay would effectively end their division title hopes and put them at very long odds for a playoff berth. A win would put them just a half game out of first place in the NFC South.

Enjoy the game everybody. Discuss the game here. The usual rules apply. Do not ask for links to illegal broadcasts of games. Do not provide them either.