The time has come and the wait is over. With both the Falcons and Bucs at 1-1 by the end of today one team will be relegated to the bottom part of the NFC South with current cellar dwellers Carolina (4:15 pm ET, FOX). On the injury front both teams look to be facing off without a few key figures; for Atlanta they'll be without Jonathan Babineaux and Kelvin Hayden, but a late addition to the injury report, LB Stephen Nicholas throws a wrench in the works, he's questionable for this afternoon's game. Meanwhile for Tampa, they'll definitely be without James Lee or Sammie Stoughter, with Quincy Black listed as questionable.
This is likely to be an extremely offensive dominated game. Let's look at several areas of this game to see who has the edge this afternoon:
While neither Matt Ryan, nor Josh Freeman have looked 100% themselves in 2011 make no mistake they're still elite QBs, and likely to finish regarded as top 10 at their position. It's very difficult to know who will play better on Sunday, but this should be one of the more entertaining aspects to the game.
Both Michael Turner and LeGarrette Blount have the ability to put up 100+ yard games, but it'll be the strength of their lines which determines their ability. When it's all said and done I think Turner gets the edge because he's a more self-sufficient RB, whereas in order for Blount to have a big day he'll be more reliant on his offensive line.
Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn may be very good in the future, but they're still a little too young as it stands. While Julio Jones still needs seasoning it's Roddy White who will really test the Bucs secondary today. I think he will have a big day again the Tampa secondary.
Both teams are playing pretty abysmally on defense. The Falcons are ranked 27th in the NFL, while the Bucs are ranked 28th. The only thing separating the team is 2.5 yards per game... in the end, they'll both get better as the season goes on, but right now they're struggling.
Make sure you tune into Fox this afternoon for all the action in what figures to be an excellent divisional matchup. And remember to head to each team's blog for game threads and recaps.