The Bucs look to go to 2-0 in the NFC South while the Falcons look to take over first place
The bad news is the Tampa Bay Bucs are coming off their worst loss of the season, causing them to fall to 3-2. The good news is, they’re still as healthy as they’ve been all year and they’re 1-0 when coming off a loss. Oh, yeah – and that win was also against a division rival.
The Atlanta Falcons are coming to Raymond James and haven’t looked overly impressive this season. While rookie Bijan Robinson has been a lot of fun to watch, Desmond Ridder isn’t quite what many people hoped he’d be at the quarterback position. Yet, somehow, they’re doing enough to be sitting at 3-3 on the year and a win against the Bucs puts them atop the NFC South.
It’s been the defense for the Falcons, allowing the fourth fewest passing yards per game in the league (179.2) while also allowing fewer than 100 rushing yards per game. The additions on the defensive side of the ball – Jessie Bates, Calais Campbell, David Onyematta – have been a big part of what they’ve been able to accomplish to keep their offense in games. Much like the team across from them.
The Bucs’ offense will need to rely on Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to get things jump started. Evans is averaging 82.3 yards per game against Atlanta for his career while Godwin is averaging 79.9 over the course of his. Baker Mayfield is coming off a season low 51% completion percentage and week six was the only time this season that the Bucs lost the turnover battle. Meanwhile, their rushing attack is still non-existent. While they aren’t dead last in the league, they’re only averaging 78.8 yards per game. That’s only better than the Vikings, Raiders, and Bengals through six weeks.
While the Bucs struggled to get off the field on third down against the Lions last week, they’ve been a very big reason the Bucs have won three games and been in their two losses against top tier teams for as long as they were. The Bucs two losses have come to teams with a combined record of 10-2 while they gave up an average of 22.5 points in those losses. In wins this season, the Bucs are giving up 14.3 points per game. The Falcons’ offense is averaging 16.5 points per game this season – 23.3 in wins, 9.7 in losses. They’ve also lost seven consecutive road games dating back to last season.
Tampa Bay now leads the all-time series against the Falcons 30-29 and have won five of the last six – having lost the second game last year when the Bucs pulled all their starters – and six of the last eight. They’ve won three in a row at home and are 17-14 all time as the home team. The Bucs hold the record for consecutive wins in the series with six from 1997-2003 while both teams have enjoyed five game win streaks.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bucs are 2.5-point home favorites with an over/under of 37 – so they certainly expect the defenses to shine in this one. Each of the Falcons’ last four games have hit the under while they haven’t covered in their last five games. The Bucs, while being a second-half team most of the year, have lost the first quarter in each of their last five home games.
The Bucs and Falcons kickoff inside Raymond James Stadium at 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX with Chris Myers and Robert Smith on the call.