Atlanta Falcons vs. Buccaneers: Tale of the tape

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The coaches

We have a rookie head coach taking on the seasoned veteran. Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn lines up opposite a very good one in Lovie Smith. Smith, like Quinn, has built a career on his defensive mind and he’s looking to rebuild a depleted Buccaneers team.

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Smith landed his first head coach gig with the Chicago Bears after spending three years as the St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator. In nine years with the Bears, Smith earned three division titles and took his team to the Super Bowl in 2006. They would ultimately lose to the Peyton Manning-led Colts.

He finished his tenure in Chicago with a 81-63 regular season record, and was 3-3 in the playoffs. Despite finishing 10-6 in 2012 and just shy of the postseason, Smith was fired and the Bears only won a combined 13 games in the two seasons that followed.

Smith inherited a poor Buccaneers team in 2014, one that had won just four games the season prior. It was a difficult debut year, winning just two games last year. But Tampa Bay has already matched that number in 2015 and is slowly rebuilding with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.

Much like Smith turned a struggling Bears team into a Super Bowl contender in just a few years, the Falcons hope Quinn will do the same in Atlanta. So far, he’s kicked off his coaching career with a 6-1 record, which is remarkable considering the Falcons went 6-10 last season.

Next: The quarterbacks