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Monday, November 1, 2010
Biggest game of the year?

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Just arrived back at NFC South Blog headquarters and it’s time to start stirring the pot for what could be the biggest game of the season.

The 5-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the 5-2 Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in the Georgia Dome. Yeah, the New Orleans Saints are 5-3 and the division’s biggest game of the season might already have taken place when the Falcons defeated the Saints in the Superdome. Or it might take place when New Orleans travels to Atlanta later in the year.

But, for the moment at least, and on paper, the Buccaneers and Falcons are on a collision course for a huge game. The winner gets sole possession of first place in the division.

Expectations were low for the Bucs and high for the Falcons at the beginning of the season. Tampa Bay has exceeded every reasonable expectation and the Falcons are pretty much on target with where most thought they would be.

After Sunday’s win in Arizona, Tampa Bay is 3-0 on the road. It’s wonderful anytime you can win on the road. But the Georgia Dome might be Tampa Bay’s biggest road test yet.

Since quarterback Matt Ryan joined the Falcons in 2008, he has lost exactly one start at home. That came on Nov. 16, 2008, against Denver. Since then, Ryan is 12-0 in games he has started in the Georgia Dome.