Match Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons v Cincinnati Bengals
On Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 8:25 p.m. E.T., the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) play their first away game of the new season, as they visit the Atlanta Falcons (1-1). The Bucs two losses came against St. Louis and Carolina, neither of which had starting quarterbacks. The Falcons had an unexpected OT win against New Orleans (37-34) in their first game and an expected loss when they visited Cincinnati (10-24).

On paper, Tampa Bay offers a defense that is a little under average, a running game that’s in the top third of the league, and a passing attack led by QB Josh McCown that is 31st overall. The best news for McCown is that he’s going up against one of the worst Ds in the league.

McCown has tossed 2 TDs, thrown 3 INTs, and been sacked 4 times. His favorite targets thus far have been veteran wideout Vincent Jackson, who has 87 yards, and rookie receiver Mike Evans with 86 yards. The Bucs run a lot and will rely on third-year RB Bobby Rainey. RB Doug Martin is questionable for the game, and TE Seferian-Jenkins is out.

The Tampa Bay defense, like the offense, will have to prove that they can keep up with their opponents. It won’t help that DT Gerald McCoy is questionable and LB Foster is out. This is a very vulnerable group that will most likely have a tough time stopping Atlanta’s top-ranked passing attack.

New coach Lovie Smith has his hands full. Plagued by injuries, he’ll need some extra effort from everyone to stay in the game. Kicker Matt Bryant, with an 85% success rate overall and a 100% success rate in 2014, could be a difference-maker.

The Falcons bring a contender to the field on offense but field a less-than-effective squad on defense. The good news is their attack can put points up; the bad news is the D has a hard time stopping opponents from doing the same.

It has been a decent year for the Falcons thus far. QB Matt Ryan is having a good season, however, he is prone to mistakes. He’s tossed 3 INTs while hitting for 4 TDs. His favorite passing target is Julio Jones (14 REC, 204 REC, 1 TD, 1 FUML). This season, veteran Steven Jackson anchors the running game, posting 98 yards in 23 ATTs for an average of 4.3 YDS/CARRY. Jackson is also a solid receiver.

Atlanta is 26th against the run and 31st against the pass. This is a major problem going into this game, especially with Rainey starting to heat up at running back for Tampa Bay. Atlanta’s corners are weak.

Although I like Matt Ryan and what he’s able to do, the Falcon defense is very questionable. Home field will help to a degree and scoring early will too. But no half-time lead is safe in the NFL.

In this NFC South rivalry, there’s a lot on the line in that one loss can play a key role in a team’s ability to make the postseason. This game will rise and fall according to how well the Falcon defense plays. If the Buc’s running game and their QB can exploit the holes in Atlanta’s D, Tampa Bay wins. The Falcons are favored by 7.

Lebron James Was Rated Higher Than Cover Athlete Kevin Durant in NBA 2k15 Video Game

10639516_10154585425405305_1378786861694310136_n2K Sports revealed its player rating in the upcoming video game NBA 2K15 with Lebron rated higher than cover athlete Kevin Durant.  Also,  2K Sports has chosen to completely switch up the way they rate players in the upcoming game, with only four players rated higher than 90.

Lebron James tops all current rating at 98, which is down from 100 last year. Kevin Durant follows at 95, and Tim Duncan at 90. The newest Cavaliers member, Kevin Love came in at 89.

Players with more well-rounded skill sets seem to be getting greater credit in the overall ratings this year than in the past as opposed to those that excel in some areas but are weaker in others

98- LeBron James
95- Kevin Durant
90- Tim Duncan
89- Kevin Love
88- Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Russell Westbrook
85- Kawhi Leonard
84- Serge Ibaka
83- Andre Drummond, Manu Ginobli
82- Monta Ellis

 

Cavaliers Win NBA Lottery

The Cleveland Cavaliers owner’s son, who has a nerve disorder, has struck the lottery again. And the Cavaliers will pick first overall in the 2013 NBA draft on June 27 after winning the NBA draft lottery Tuesday in New York. This will be the third time in 11 years the Cavaliers pick first.

“It’s huge for us,” Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said immediately after the pick. “For us, it’s about the city of Cleveland and giving them more hope as we build the franchise to the level we want to go to.”

Had the lottery worked itself out mathematically, the Cleveland Cavaliers would’ve had the third pick in the draft. But this time the Cavaliers have hit it lucky again, the kind of luck you would expect to see at an online casino like Gaming Club.

As the Cavs were revealed as the winner, Gilbert, in his traditional bow tie, pumped his fist and grinned at his father sitting in the studio audience with the Cavs contingent that included hip hop artist Machine Gun Kelly, Iron Chef Michael Symon, Cleveland broadcasters and two fans who won contests to accompany the group.

“It’s what’s not to like 2.0,” Nick Gilbert said, updating the memorable phrase he uttered when the Cavs won the lottery in 2011.

The Cavs hope this No. 1 pick will put them back in the playoffs again after a three-year absence, even if there is no obvious top choice.

“There’s a lot of great players up top, but there’s no clear No. 1,” Gilbert said. “For us to have the choice I think is tremendous. It will give us not only a boost this year, but we’re going to put together a young core of guys that are all under 22 years old.

Aside from the Cavs, the big winners on Tuesday were the Washington Wizards, who bumped up four spots and will have the enviable decision of choosing among a group of players that could include Porter, athletic four Anthony Bennett and defensive dynamo Victor Oladipo. For a team that played .500 ball over the last 50 games and already features John Wall and Bradley Beal, those four spots may be the difference between another losing season and a playoff run.