NFL Week 12 Picks Against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, 11/25/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Tampa Bay PK
Current Betting Line:  Tampa Bay PK
Opening Total:  48
Current Total:  51
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Falcons Packers NFC Playoff Game Preview
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan has enjoyed great success against divisional foes recently

Atlanta overcame a 13-point deficit to pick up a 23-19 victory over the Arizona Cardinals as 9.5-point home favorites, as it won the statistical battle by 176 yards.  The Falcons have two more wins than anyone else in the NFC standings, but head coach Mike Smith isn’t satisfied.  “We’re very, very fortunate,” stated Smith in practice this week.  “The NFL is so close.”  He has compiled a solid 21-16 record on the road during his career.  Entering Week 12, the NFL has had 85 games decided by eight points or less, which is the second-most through 11 weeks in league history.  Atlanta is 4-9 ATS versus winning teams over the last two-plus seasons.

The Falcons rank 26th in the league in allowing 130.5 rushing yards per game, which could lead directly to picking up their second loss of the season.  Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan will need to continue his strong play against NFC South rivals, as he’s averaged 315.8 passing yards in his last five division games.  On the other side of the football, defensive end John Abraham will need to create pressure, as he’s tallied 13.5 sacks in his last 13 games.

Tampa Bay has won and covered the spread in four consecutive games, including a 27-21 overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers as one-point road favorites last week.    The Buccaneers have the NFL’s worst pass defense, allowing 323.4 yards per game, which could pose a major problem in this particular matchup.  The franchise is tied with Seattle for the NFC’s second wild-card spot, which has been made possible by an offense that’s scoring 34.2 points per game over its last six contests.  Tampa Bay is 8-2 ATS on the year, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL picks against the spread on Sunday.

The Buccaneers have gotten tremendous production out of rookie running back Doug Martin, who has 1,019 yards from scrimmage in the past six games.  Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman has also put things together—posting a 106.1 passer rating in his last six games under center.  He hasn’t enjoyed that type of success against the Falcons recently, throwing for six touchdowns and 10 interceptions in losing four of the last five meetings in this series.

Sports bettors will likely back the Falcons due to their 9-3 ATS mark on the road versus winning home teams, while the Buccaneers are 9-23 ATS in their last 32 games inside Raymond James Stadium.

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