NFL Mismatches in Week 3

Jerry Rice and Tim Brown should have their way against the Broncos inexperienced cornerbacks.

Updated: September 19, 2003, 10:51 AM ET
By By Ryan Early | NFL Insider
The game of pro football is predicated on individual matchups. Coaches seek out a match-up in their favor and devise a game plan to take advantage.

Each week we preview one lopsided match-up that should make an impact on the game, either through its exploitation or in changing a team's plans to try to compensate.

Bucs at Falcons
LB Derrick Brooks vs. RB Warrick Dunn
Almost half of the Falcons offense is run through their diminutive running back, and former Buccaneer. He has 26 carries and seven receptions after two games, accounting for 40 percent of all Falcon skill position touches. Dunn is a unique back in that he has the agility of a small back but the toughness of a much bigger player. But the Buccaneers defense, led by last year's defensive league MVP Derrick Brooks, has too much quickness for Dunn to pick up yards in more than bite size pieces. The Panthers showed last week that a power running game is the best way to attack the Tampa front, but such an attack would force the Falcons to shy away from their primary playmaker and use runners like T.J. Duckett and fullback Justin Griffith, who they have much less trust in.