Two of the most disappointing teams of the season face off Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons (3-7) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Falcons enter this game the hotter of the two teams, but the Bucs have beaten the Rams, Panthers and Cardinals this season, so they should never be overlooked. Who will have the edge in this NFC South showdown? Here’s a preview of the game followed by trends and our prediction.
The Falcons have won two in a row, first beating the Saints in New Orleans, 26-9, and then handily dispensing the Carolina Panthers, 29-3. Whether the Falcons have had an awakening, or whether they are playing for coach Dan Quinn’s job is anyone’s guess, but they have looked like a different team the last two weeks, and they have been playing better on both sides of the ball.
Matt Ryan has one of the best one-two combos at wide receiver in the league with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and Kenjon Barner has filled in nicely for Devonta Freeman when he has missed time dealing with his injured foot. If the Falcons can continue to roll offensively, they could be a dangerous team moving forward. They have also stepped up defensively.
The Falcons have a whopping 11 sacks over their last two games, which has been a huge turnaround for their defense. They will also have opportunities to take the ball away against Winston, who leads the league in turnovers.
Jameis Winston and Company have lost five of their last six games, and they have very little hope to finish the season strong based on the product they’re putting on the field. Winston throws for a ton of yards, but he also has a ton of turnovers–a league-high 22.
On defense, Tampa Bay has the best run defense in football, allowing a measly 80.9 yards a game on the ground. It’s defending the pass where this team has gotten into trouble this season. The Bucs are allowing over 290 yards a game through the air, and they could very likely get burned repeatedly by Jones and Ridley this weekend.
Trends, Pick and Prediction:
Spread: Tampa Bay +3.5
Over/Under: 52 points
Odds Shark currently has the Falcons winning the game by a projected score of 32-20 with Atlanta covering the spread and the total score going over 52 points.
Some relevant trends surrounding the game courtesy of Odds Shark:
• Tampa Bay is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 8 of Tampa Bay’s last 8 games.
• The Buccaneers are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games.
• Tampa Bay is 0-5 SU in their last 5 games against Atlanta.
• Atlanta is 6-12 ATS in their last 18 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games.
• The Falcons are 2-6 SU in their last 8 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 5 of Atlanta’s last 6 games against Tampa Bay.
The Falcons are too hot right now to bet against, especially at home against this Bucs team. We’ll take the Falcons to win and cover the spread, but we think this one will be slightly UNDER 52 points.
Final Prediction: Falcons 30, Buccaneers 21
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