Falcons escape Tampa Bay

19 December 2017 22:28:13 GMTPlus11

The Atlanta Falcons were good enough, barely, on Monday as they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-21 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Devonta Freeman rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and Matt Ryan completed 17-of-31 for 212 yards and a score as the Falcons moved to 9-5 on the campaign, a game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks in the standings.

Atlanta controls their own destiny with games remaining against the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers and victory in both will see the Falcons crowned the champions in the NFC South Division.

It's hard to quantify Atlanta as they have just three victories all year of greater than six points, defeating the Green Bay Packers in the second week of the season, rolling over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10 and the Buccaneers in Week 12.

Just good enough appears to be the motto of the team who conversely have only lost once by more than six point.

New Orleans and Carolina are a game ahead of Atlanta in the standings and all three have the inside track to make the playoffs.

The Saints follow next week's game against the Falcons at the Mercedes Benz SuperDome in New Orleans with a match up with the Buccaneers in Tampa. Meanwhile the Panthers will also face Tampa Bay, at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte before heading down to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on New Year's Eve.

New Orleans are 4.00 to win the Super Bowl this season.

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