Get your popcorn ready! The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) take their 6th-ranked offense to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to do battle with the Atlanta Falcons (1-4) 10th-ranked offense in Week 6 (October 14, 2018 at 1:00pm EST).
Online sports betting sites are clearly expecting a lot of points, as they’ve set the game total at a healthy 57.5, with the Falcons opening as 3-point favorites.
The Buccaneers are averaging an impressive 28 points per game (6th). And it’s crazy to think they could be even better if they’d just stop turning the ball over. Tampa Bay has committed nine turnovers this season (28th), which includes three two weeks ago against the Bears.
Misguided Ryan Fitzpatrick passes have been the source of five of those giveaways. The good news is Fitzpatrick will no longer be under center to throw the ball to the other team. The bad news is turnovers have plagued Jameis Winston throughout his career, too. He even threw two INTs in the second half of Tampa Bay’s Week 4 loss to the Bears.
Ball security will be of utmost importance for Winston and the Buccaneers moving forward.
Tampa Bay is going to need every bit of offense they can manage in Week 6, as their defense has been deplorable this season. The Buccaneers are allowing 34.8 points per game, which is the most in the league.
Their defense is getting torched through the air, allowing a humiliating 358 passing yards per game (32nd). This was the story last week when the Bears threw for 344 yards against them.
Tampa Bay’s defense will certainly be tested this week against an Atlanta offense that looked pretty good heading into Week 5. Thanks to a potent passing game, the Falcons are scoring 26.6 PPG (10th). Matt Ryan has been exceptional for Atlanta this year, tossing for 1,601 yards (7th) with an 11:2 TD to INT ratio, good for a 110.9 passer rating.
Ryan would certainly disclose he’s received a lot of help from his pass-catchers, though, specifically Julio Jones. His go-to receiver has hauled in 34 passes for 564 receiving yards (3rd) this season. He hasn’t found the end zone yet, but rookie Calvin Ridley sure has, piling up six TDs.
The Falcons have needed this kind of production from Ryan and his receivers, however, as they have struggled to efficiently move the ball on the ground. Led by Tevin Coleman (Devonta Freeman has only played in two games due to injuries), Atlanta averages just 3.9 yards per carry (21st in the NFL). The opposition knows the key to slowing this offense is taking the ball out of Ryan’s hands, but that’s been quite a task for defenses.
The Falcons defense doesn’t offer much help. They’re surrendering an embarrassing 32.6 PPG, the second-most in the NFL. This is the result of them not being able to stop anything.
Atlanta gives up 277.2 yards per game through the air (24th) and 121.4 on the ground (25th). It seems like a great game to get Jameis Winston comfortable.
Atlanta barely got by Tampa Bay, 24-21, the last time these two teams played, which was December 18th, 2017. The Falcons served as the favorite in that game, too, laying 7 points.