Week 9 of the 2016 NFL season will be underway on Thursday, November 3rd. Which two teams will be playing on Thursday Night Football this week?
The 2016 NFL season enters Week 9 on Thursday, November 3rd. Six teams are on byes this week and there will be 13 games on the schedule. The first one will be in Tampa, as NFC South division rivals clash on Thursday Night Football.
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The Atlanta Falcons (5-3) will travel to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) on Thursday at 8:25 PM ET. The NFL Network will have the telecast of this NFC South rivalry game.
Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta in the Georgia Dome in Week 1, 31-24. The Falcons have lost three straight to the Buccaneers, but Tampa Bay can’t buy a game at home, losers of their last five at Raymond James.
Atlanta leads the NFC South by a game and a half over Tampa Bay in the NFC South. A win over the Falcons brings Tampa very much into the NFC South mix. That would get the Buccaneers to .500 at 4-4 and only a half-game back of Atlanta by virtue of sweeping the Falcons for the second straight season.
Should Atlanta win on the road in Tampa, that would make the Falcons 3-1 in the NFC South at 6-3. Atlanta is playing solid ball in the first half of the season. If the Falcons can execute on the road in a quick turnaround in Week 9, they could have the NFC South locked up before December.
This NFC South rivalry has intensified over the last two seasons. Former Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter now runs the ship in Tampa. His defensive coordinator is none other than the winningest head coach in Falcons history in Mike Smith.
Bad blood is brewing in this budding rivalry. This could be one of the better Thursday night games of the season. Atlanta’s offense is high-octane and the Falcons are a fun watch because of it. Tampa Bay plays in a lot of close games, so this one could be exciting down to the final possessions.