The Atlanta Falcons will close out the season with a game on the road with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With no playoffs for the Falcons or Bucs, this game will be an exercise of pride.
Coming into the final game of the season, the Atlanta Falcons are one of the hottest teams in football, winning three straight. Unfortunately, it’s all more naught with the season ending after Sunday’s game no matter the result. Similar to last season, when the Falcons closed the season out on a three-game winning streak to finish 7-9, the Falcons have a chance to match last season’s record with a win on Sunday.
Like the Falcons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning four of their last five games. Also, like the Falcons, a rocky first half of the season doomed the Bucs to miss the playoffs so this late-season flurry of success will be for the team’s pride more than anything else. With that said, the Bucs are playing very well and have a chance to finish the season 8-8 with a win on Sunday.
With the playoffs out of the equation for both teams, the fans of their respective teams have stats and pride to cheer for on Sunday. Matt Ryan can possibly reach 4200-4300 yards with a good game. Julio Jones could eclipse 1400 yards with a decent game. Perhaps the most compelling for Falcons fans will be Vic Beasley Jr. Beasley, with two sacks on Sunday, has a chance to reach 10 sacks on the season. All of us will be cheering for Vic to get those two sacks on Sunday.
As for the Bucs, a lot of the fanfare will be with their erratically brilliant quarterback, Jameis Winston. It’s likely Winston will surpass the 5000-yard mark on Sunday and has a chance to lead the NFL in passing yards. Also, with 28 interceptions on the season, Winston has a chance to become the first 30 touchdowns, 30 interceptions guy in the NFL. It’s only right for Winston to set both of these records on Sunday. Like Beasley, all Falcons fans will be cheering for Winston to get his two interceptions out of the way early.
On Sunday, I doubt many people will be tuning in to this game with so many playoff implications around the league this Sunday. I’m sure many Falcons and Bucs fans will skip this game on Sunday. That’s their loss because this game has the potential to be great. Also, meaningless, but great too. Jameis always plays great against the Falcons. Julio Jones loves torching the Bucs. This game has the potential to be a high-scoring season finale that will be the perfect close to the season before we get into coaching speculation and mock drafts. For one more Sunday, we get to enjoy real football.