Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons – NFL Pick for Week 15

Buccaneers (8-5) at Falcons (4-9)

Series

Atlanta has a 28-25 lead in the series as the Falcons have won six of the last seven. The Falcons and Buccaneers split the season series a year ago as Atlanta defensive back Deion Jones ended the season with a pick-6 of Jameis Winston and gave Atlanta a 28-22 overtime win over the Buccaneers on Dec. 29, 2019. The game answered an earlier Bucs’ 35-22 win in Atlanta.

Vs. The Spread

The total has gone OVER in six of Tampa Bay’s last seven games when playing at Atlanta. The OVER has also been the play for the Buccaneers as 15 of Tampa Bay’s last 19 game against NFC competition have gone OVER. On the flip side the total has been UNDER in six of the Falcons’ last seven games and the UNDER has been the play in four of Atlanta’s last five home outings.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Buccaneers -6 (-108) -260 O 49.5 (-108)
Falcons +6 (-112) +220 U 49.5 (-112)

Last week

The Buccaneers scored 23 unanswered points and Tom Brady had a pair of touchdown passes as Tampa Bay took down Minnesota, 26-14. The Buccaneers’ defense limited Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to 102 yards on 22 carries.

Atlanta lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, 20-17, as Matt Ryan threw three second half interceptions. Calvin Ridley had eight catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.

When the Buccaneers Have the Ball

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LogoTom Brady lines his arsenal of weapons up across from a Falcons’ pass defense that is 30th in the NFL although it has only given up an average of 218 yards per game on average over the last four contests. A.J. Terrell and Isaiah Oliver start on the corners for Atlanta, but Terrell has the only interception between the two. Brady threw four interceptions in the two losses to the Rams and Chiefs, but came back and played efficiently although he only threw for 196 yards last week against the Vikings as Minnesota controlled the clock. Mike Evans’ 11 touchdown catches are fourth in the NFL, but the health of Chris Godwin might bear watching as he has 19 catches for 354 yards in his last three games and he looks for his third game in a row with 100 receiving yards.

Motivation in general will be huge for Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers sit at 8-5 and are looking to nail down the team’s first playoff berth since 2007. To the naked eye, this could look like a trap game, but coach Bruce Arians and his staff will not allow that to happen with so much on the line.

When the Falcons Have the Ball

Atlanta Falcons LogoThe Falcons passing game will have to carry them behind the incomparable Matt Ryan who passed Peyton Manning last week for most passing yards by a player in 13 seasons. He has dominated Tampa Bay in games played in Atlanta as he has tossed 18 touchdown passes and four interceptions in the A-T-L. Calvin Ridley has turned into Ryan’s big play receiver with 67 catches and he averages 15.8 yards per catch. He is looking for his third 100-yard receiving game in a row.

With Todd Gurley struggling with injuries, Tampa Bay’s top-rated run defense is likely to stymie Brian Ellis and Ito Smith to the point that the entire focus will be on Ryan, Ridley, and quelling the passing attack. Mounting a pass rush could be easier for Tampa Bay as Ryan has been dropped 33 times and with the aggressiveness of Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett, and Devin White as pass rushers, the Falcons will be forced to try to be creative in their protection schemes. Lavonte David will also be a problem with his aggression as well as he has 12 tackles-for-loss in eight games vs. the Falcons.

NFL Betting Predictions

Winner: Buccaneers (-6) 27, Falcons 17
Over-Under: Take UNDER 49.5

The Bets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6
-108
UNDER 49.5
-112
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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.