The 1-4 Atlanta Falcons will host the 2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In an NFC South division where the Saints and Panthers have separated themselves, both the Bucs and Falcons are on the outside looking in at the bottom of the division. Atlanta was just blown out 41-17 by the Steelers, while Tampa Bay is coming off a bye week after getting blown out themselves in Week 4 against Chicago 48-10. Jameis Winston will look to change the course for the Bucs, as Matt Ryan will continue to put up huge numbers against a below-average defense.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons Odds
Atlanta is currently favored at home -3.5; their one win in the season came against the Panthers in Week 2. The Bucs currently sit at 1-1 when playing on the road. This will be Jameis Winston’s first start of the season since serving his suspension and the days of “Fitzmagic” seem to be over. The total for this game sits at 57.
Spread: Atlanta -3.5
Buccaneers vs. Falcons Head to Head
Atlanta leads the all-time series 25-24 and has won the last three games against Tampa Bay. In their last meeting Devonta Freeman had a day to remember, rushing 22 times for 126 yards and a score. Freeman also contributed five catches for 68 yards and looks to do the same this week since returning from injury in Week 5. Winston completed 27-of-35 pass attempts for 299 yards and three touchdowns in the loss as well.
A big factor to watch come Sunday is the difference in run games. Atlanta will ride the coattails of Freeman and Tevin Coleman while no one quite knows who will lead the Bucs in rushing attempts. Rookie Ronald Jones led the team Week 4 against Chicago with 10 carries for just 29 yards. The Bucs could be playing from behind most of the game as Matt Ryan is one of the league’s best passers.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons Stats
Matt Ryan has one of the best receiving corps to throw to. Julio Jones is top five in receiving yards, while rookie Calvin Ridley leads the league with six touchdown catches. Ryan is currently seventh in passing yards with 1,601, only twenty yards behind Deshaun Watson. Tight end Austin Hooper led the team in receiving against the Steelers with nine catches for 77 yards. Surprisingly, Julio Jones remains without a touchdown this season as Ryan continues to spread the ball around to different receivers. Winston will re-enter his starting role with the Bucs and find his big target in Mike Evans, who has 426 yards on the season through four games.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons News
Following Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh, Matt Ryan underwent X-rays on his foot and everything checked out okay. Ryan enters a very good matchup against the Bucs after Mitchell Trubisky shredded them for six touchdowns in Week 4. For the Bucs, O.J. Howard remained out of practice on Monday with an MCL sprain.
Buccaneers vs. Falcons Predictions
We’ll take the Falcons in this game 38-32.