An intriguing NFC South matchup will finish off the NFL’s regular season during the early slate on Sunday, as the Atlanta Falcons head to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers.
Both teams were expected to be better and compete meaningfully for the playoffs, but that hasn’t been the case. Though both squads have turned it on of late, their early season struggles and mistakes have hindered their ability to play into January. That said, positive signs have emerged and both Atlanta and Tampa Bay have exciting pieces that should make this contest one of the more watchable games from the Week 17 slate.
Expect an offensive showcase, between two gunslingers in Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston. Though both QB’s should have some injuries within their respective receiving corps, that shouldn’t deter their big arms from airing in out in what promises to be a shootout. As always, keep reading on below the odds for a detailed matchup breakdown, betting analysis, and official wagering prediction. Enjoy!
Falcons vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons PK (-110)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK (-110)
Over 48 (-105)
Under 48 (-115)
Falcons vs. Buccaneers Pick:
For the Bucs, they succeed and fail as their enigmatic quarterback Jameis Winston goes. He had a typical showing last week, throwing multiple interceptions, before delivering some stellar bombs downfield to lead a potential comeback against Houston. That’s Winston, and despite his flaws, his arm remains one of the most lethal assets in football.
It is believed that the former Florida St. product is still battling a thumb injury however, and it will be interesting to see how he manages that potential injury. He’ll also be down Chris Godwin and Mike Evans again, though both Justin Watson and Breshad Perriman have adequately filled in. Don’t sleep either on his duo of talented tight ends – Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Against Atlanta, there should be a lot of openings for Tampa to exploit downfield and in the middle of the field.
The Falcons also don’t generate much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It’s an area they have struggled with all season. The Bucs have given Winston elite-level protection and that should continue in the season finale on Sunday. With added time and space, it should limit the mistakes that he’s typically used to making. Expect a big final outing from the high-octane Buccaneers’ attack.
Expect Tampa Bay to handle the challenge Atlanta presents quite well, especially given the fact that it does seem that the Falcons will hold star receiver Julio Jones out of this contest. That should put added pressure on Matt Ryan, and perhaps turn their strategy to a more run-focused approach featuring Devonta Freeman.
Unfortunately for Atlanta, there just isn’t a clear path to moving the ball for them. The Bucs’ have solidified their pass defense, and with Vita Vea in the middle of the field – their run defense is tops in the entire NFL. Atlanta isn’t a better team than Tampa Bay, and in a straight pick’em match, expect the Bucs to have some fun through the air and put up a big number on a vulnerable Falcons’ stop unit.