If you've spent any time watching the NFC South on a regular basis you know to expect the unexpected. Whatever logic you can place on a game pretty much flies out the window when these teams play. Even last year the 2-14 Carolina Panthers were a missed FG away from beating the New Orleans Saints, that's the kind of division it is.
So when the 1-1 Atlanta Falcons travel to the 1-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers it's easy to understand why experts are having an impossible time picking the game. There are plenty of logical reasons why either team should win, but in the end this game could come down to something random like fumbles or missed field goals, that's just how it is.
Here on SB Nation our own Andrew Sharp is picking Atlanta to win, but his assessment is hardly a glowing endorsement of the Falcons
One of these teams is going to win this game and spend the rest of the year in the hunt for a playoff spot. The other one's going 7-9, at best. But Atlanta looked good Sunday night, and Tampa hasn't looked great all year. So... yeah. Right?
Over on ESPN we have a 5-3 split among experts in favor of Atlanta, while the computer is taking the Bucs and fans are backing the Falcons.
Unlike other outlets CBS Sports is invoking the 'strength in numbers' methodology as all five experts are taking the Falcons to win on the road.
Finally, Peter Schrager of Fox Sports is predicting a 34-24 win in favor of Tampa Bay. He cites Atlanta's lackluster defense through two games as being the difference maker in Sunday's game.
Given all this information, who should you pick on Sunday? Among our sources with have a 11-4 split in favor of the Atlanta Falcons, and I feel this is right on the money. Even away this Falcons team simply has more talent than the much younger Bucs. In time the NFC South will dread Tampa Bay, but much like 2010 I don't think they're there quite yet. Tampa are still fairly inconsistent on both sides of the ball, and a veteran team like Atlanta thrive on inconsistency.
My pick: Atlanta 30 - Tampa Bay 24