Is anyone else ready to watch Thursday Night Football live tonight? After a week of NFL related domestic violence and abuse stories, all of which completely deserve to be covered, tonight’s Buccaneers Falcons game represents a return to the actual game of football. The game is bound to enliven fans tonight, even if the pundits aren’t all that excited about the actual teams playing.
Last season the Buccaneers and Falcons met twice and split their regular-season series one game apiece. Tampa Bay won the most recent outing 41-28 in November behind running back Bobby Rainey’s 163 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Falcons won their October game 31-20 as Matt Ryan connected with WR Harry Douglas for 149 yards and hit RB Jacquizz Rodgers for two touchdowns.
The Atlanta Falcons enter tonight’s Buccaneers Falcons game with the top-rated passing attack and second-ranked overall offense in the NFL. Driving those stats is Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who returns home to the Georgia Dome for tonight’s Falcons game with a great record. All time, Ryan is 37-10 at home with 76 touchdowns and 29 interceptions, and he has a 66.7 completion percentage and 244 yards/game average.
For the season Ryan’s already gone 55-for-87 for 679 yards and 4 TDs. Compare that to the ground-happy Buccaneers, who enter tonight’s Thursday Night Football game with the worst passing efficiency rating in the NFL. Quarterback Josh McCown has completed passes at a 67.9% clip, but he has more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (2).
McCown’s receivers haven’t given him much help. Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans have a combined 173 receiving yards through the first two weeks. The Buccaneers’ ground game has fared somewhat better, with running back Rainey carrying the ball 26 times for 156 yards, but when you watch tonight’s Falcons game live it’ll be interesting to see if Atlanta can hold him in check.
That could be tough. Watch the Buccaneers game on the ground to see if they exploit the Falcons’ weakness against the run. Against the Bengals Atlanta allowed 170 net rushing yards, with one-third of Cincinnati’s rushing attempts going for five or more yards.
Tonight’s Thursday Night Football game between the Tampe Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons is live on TV on both CBS and the NFL Network. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:25pm EST / 5:25pm PST from the Georgia Dome. You can also watch Buccaneers vs Falcons online free Thursday Night Football live stream using the CBS Sports website or DirecTV’s website. The latter requires an NFL Sunday Ticket MAX subscription, but if you have one you can watch the game online free via the DirecTV live stream on a smartphone, tablet or PC.