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Falcons Fantasy Football Projections, Week 17: Birds Get Soft Matchup In Season Finale

If you'll recall, the Falcons lost to the Buccaneers way back in week three of the regular season, a pretty ugly 16-13 defeat that was sealed by Ray Edwards jumping offsides. Now fourteen weeks and nine consecutive losses later, the Bucs are nowhere near the same team that once sat at 4-2.

Whatever the reason, be it ineffective coaching or the multitude of younger and less experienced players on the roster, the Bucs are fielding a defense that is currently allowing the third most offensive yards per game in the league, with opponents averaging just over 392 yards against Raheem Morris' club. The rush defense has been the second-worst in the league, allowing just under 150 yards per game.

With that said, here are the numberFire.com projections for the 2011 regular season finale:

In addition, Tampa Bay has allowed opponents to score a total of 449 points against them, the most in the league by a pretty wide margin. Any way you look at it, the Falcons appear primed for an offensive explosion as they attempt to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to the Saints on national television.

So as has been the case all year long, Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez should be prime starts this week. So too should Julio Jones, who had another 100+ yard game against the Saints and scored the game's only touchdown.

The real question is if Michael Turner, who's been pretty quiet these last two games, can carry the load one more time before the Falcons take their crack at the playoffs. All signs seemingly point to a "yes" for Turner, as well.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic; for the Buccaneers, head over to Bucs Nation.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.