The Atlanta Falcons hit the road on Sunday, November 9th to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFC South action. These teams have split their meetings each of the last three seasons. The Bucs will be looking for revenge from a 14-56 road loss against the Falcons on September 18th in their first meeting of 2014.

Atlanta (2-6) will be returning from its bye this week following a 21-22 loss to Detroit in London two weeks ago. Tampa Bay (1-7) suffered its fourth straight defeat last week at the hands of Cleveland by a final of 17-22 on the road.

Kickoff inside Raymond James Stadium is scheduled for 1:00 EST Sunday afternoon with FOX providing the television coverage. If you are looking to place a wager on this game, you’ll find Atlanta as a 1.5-point favorite at Tampa Bay and a total set of 45.5 points.

My Early Lean: Falcons -1.5

It’s amazing to think that the Falcons still feel like they have a shot to win the NFC South, but such is life in this poor division. The Falcons are very much alive for the division title as they trail the New Orleans Saints by just two games for first place. They also currently hold the tiebreaker over the Saints after beating them in Week 1.

This bye week came at a great time for Atlanta, which can clear its mind of what happened in the first half of the season and focus on making a run in the second half. That starts this week with a road game against the Bucs, who are the only team in the division that has been worse than the Falcons. With games against the Panthers and Browns the next two weeks after this, the Falcons have to feel like they can make a run.

Atlanta did play well in its last game against one of the best teams in the NFL over in London. Unfortunately, it blew a 21-0 lead over Detroit and lost on a last-second field goal by a final of 22-21. That Detroit team is now 6-2 and vying for the top spot in the NFC. It was a tough loss, but one that shows what the Falcons are capable of moving forward.

The Bucs would be winless this season if not for a fluke 27-24 win at Pittsburgh back on September 28th. It has lost four in a row coming in, including losses to both the Vikings and Browns the last two weeks. Those two performances following up a 17-48 home loss to Baltimore on October 12th. This team simply is not that good, and they certainly can’t have a very good outlook going forward right now.

While that 31-point loss to the Ravens was bad, it wasn’t even the biggest loss the Bucs have suffered this season. They were beaten even more handily by Atlanta in the first meeting of the season by a final of 56-14 on the road. The Falcons outgained the Bucs 488-217 for the game in their most impressive effort of the season. Matt Ryan threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, while the Falcons rushed for 144 yards as a team in the win.

There’s no denying that both teams are bad defensively, but the edge clearly goes to the Falcons on the other side of the football. They rank 8th in the NFL in total offense at 375.6 yards per game, while the Bucs rank 31st in total offense at 303.9 yards per game. Matt Ryan still has two of the best weapons in the NFL in Roddy White and Julio Jones as this offense has gotten back on track in 2014.

Plays on road favorites (ATLANTA) – when playing with two weeks or more of rest are 85-47 (64.4%) ATS since 1983.

Plays on road favorites (ATLANTA) – when playing with two weeks or more of rest are 85-47 (64.4%) ATS since 1983. Plays on road teams (ATLANTA) – after five or more consecutive losses, in November games are 43-16 (72.9%) ATS since 1983. Plays on road teams where the line is +3 to -3 (ATLANTA) – off a cover where the team lost as an underdog, in the second half of the season are 39-10 (79.6%) ATS since 1983. The Bucs are 16-34-1 ATS in their last 51 home games.