The Atlanta Falcons return home to play their first game since October 27th when the team lost to the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, the Falcons have won two in a row and will be looking to make it three with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to town.
After the dreadful 1-7 start, the Atlanta Falcons have shocked the NFL by stringing together two wins in a row in their back-to-back games. The shocking part wasn’t that the Falcons won two games, it was how they won the two games with stellar defensive showings, racking up double-digit sacks and four interceptions in the two games. Now, with Tampa coming to town, led by the human-turnover, Jameis Winston, the Falcons are poised for a big day from their defense.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 3-7 led by their streaky offense and defense. Speaking of Jameis Winston, the Bucs QB is having a typical Jameis season. Winston is in the top-five in passing yards and touchdown. At the same time, Winston leads the NFL with 18 interceptions.
Jameis has been able to put up such big numbers because of the two monsters, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, catching passes. Evans and Godwin are 2nd and 3rd in receiving yards and both are tied for 4th in the NFL with 8 touchdowns. The Bucs aerial attack is very real and very scary. The Falcons will have to focus hard to stop the Bucs from throwing the ball all over the field on Sunday.
Luckily, for the Falcons, the Bucs running game isn’t as potent as their passing attack. While the Bucs can boast a top-five passing offense in the NFL, their running attack is in the bottom half of the NFL. Led by Ronald Jones II, the Bucs are averaging 94 yards a game on the ground. The Falcons can zone in on the Bucs high flying passing game and hope to not get beat by the Bucs on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, the Bucs are just as inconsistent. The Bucs have the second-best rushing defense in all of the NFL, holding opponents to 80 yards per game. Conversely, their passing defense is the second-worst in the NFL, averaging 290 passing yards given up a game. The Falcons, who are primarily a passing team, are primed to torch this Bucs defense on Sunday.
This being the first meeting with Tampa Bay this season means Dirk Koetter will get his first look at the team he was the head coach of last season. Koetter, who has been a massive disappointment all season, will have a little extra motivation to light up the Tampa defense. With a lot of the same defense in place when Koetter was there, he should have an advantage in knowing what to expect from this defense on Sunday.
The Falcons have a great chance to make it three wins in a row on Sunday against the Bucs. If this Falcons team plays like they have the past two weeks, this team should have no issue with the Bucs on Sunday. However, the Bucs are sneaky good, just look at the game they had with Seattle a couple of weeks ago. Winston and the Bucs always seem to give the Falcons trouble when they come together so don’t be surprised to see Winston have a big day against this rejuvenated Falcons defense. If I had to guess, I would say the Falcons win this game to improve to 4-7 and further torpedo any hopes at a top-ten draft pick. I can’t wait to have the 13th pick in next season’s draft. Go Falcons!
Week 12 NFL Picks
Season Record: 25-25
Seattle(+1) over Philadelphia
What’s going on with this Eagles team? Does anyone know? It’s hard to think about how hyped this Eagles team was coming into the season and now, they could miss the playoffs. It’s not hard, it’s actually hilarious. Quit crying Eagles fans! You should be used to this by now. The Seahawks are still pushing for the NFC West title so they’ll be looking for this win. Take the Hawks for the win.
Oakland(-4) over NY Jets
The Raiders, the preseason laughingstock of the NFL, are now looking pretty good for a playoff spot. Derek Carr and Jon Gruden are sneakily pulling off a very impressive season over in the Bay. On the other side, the Jets are a complete disaster. Some things never change. I like the Raiders to come across the country to take down the Jets and improve to 7-4.
New Orleans(-10) over Carolina
The two punching bags of the Atlanta Falcons, the Saints and Panthers will match up to see who the worst team in the NFC South is. After the complete and utter humiliation at the hands of the Falcons, the Saints took their anger out on the Bucs. I expect them to do the same to the now exposed Kyle Allen this week. Saints win big on Sunday.
Jacksonville(3.5) over Tennessee
BIG D**K NICK. Do I need to say more? The Titans have had time to prepare for this game so naturally, they’ll poop the bed, similar to Kendall Roy, in this game. I like the Jags to ruin any playoff hope the Titans had.
Green Bay(+3) over San Francisco
The 49ers are very good. The defense is very good. The offense is fine. I’m still not fully invested in these 49ers. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers is a different story. This team looks different, after so many disappointing seasons. I think the Packers struggle, but find a way to win on Sunday night.