A look at some odds and ends from around the division:
Jeff Schultz has a list of advantages the Falcons have over the Seahawks. One he mentions is the combination of Roddy White and Julio Jones at receiver and tight end Tony Gonzalez. I think that’s the key to this game. That trio is hard to match up with. The Falcons need to forget the run and come out throwing.
D. Orlando Ledbetter has a list of the top 10 plays of the season for the Falcons. At No. 4, he has John Abraham’s forced fumble in Week 4 against Carolina. I’d actually put that play at No. 1. If Abraham didn’t force that fumble, Carolina would have won and Atlanta wouldn’t have gone on to start the season 8-0. Their season could have turned out a lot differently. Also, I think Carolina’s season might have been a lot different if the Panthers had won that game.
Scott Fowler has a column on former Carolina players Jeff Lewis and Bryan Stoltenberg, who died a day apart from each other. Lewis and Stoltenberg weren’t prominent players. But I covered them both during my days with The Charlotte Observer and remember both as good guys.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Sean Payton said Doug Marrone is ready to succeed as the new head coach in Buffalo. Payton knows Marrone as well as anyone. Marrone was the offensive coordinator during Payton’s first three seasons in New Orleans, before leaving to become the head coach at Syracuse.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Stephen Holder writes that there are no indications the Bucs plan to part ways with Bill Sheridan. That probably isn’t going to sit well with a segment of fans that are calling for change following a season in which the Bucs had the league’s worst pass defense. But it should be noted it often takes more than one season for a team to adjust to a new scheme. It also should be noted that Sheridan had no control over the injuries and suspensions the Bucs had to endure at cornerback.