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NFC South Preview – Bucs v Falcons

Due to the Saints’ bye week and a divisional clash, there are only two matches involving NFC South teams in Week 6. With no disrespect to Carolina’s trip to Washington, there is only one game to watch in the NFC South this week; Tampa Bay Buccaneers against Atlanta Falcons.

The Bucs

There is no more talk of a QB debate in Tampa as Jameis Winston is back under centre for the Bucs. Hopefully, with Tampa having to spend two weeks stewing over their shambolic performance against the Bears in week 4, the Buccaneers will be looking for a quick start against their rivals. The Offense was nowhere as effective in Chicago as it had been in the first three weeks of the season. The Defense was a disasters against the Bears.

Still, this Tampa Defense does have far too much talent to put on another horror show and all the criticism aimed at the team and in particular Mike Smith, Defensive Co-ordinator, has to see an improvement in Georgia. In fact, with Julio Jones waiting for the Bucs, the Defense simply has to improve from the Chicago debacle. Based on their previous performance, the Bucs would have struggled to contain Bridget Jones nevermind Julio Jones.

Despite the plaudits dished out to the Bucs Offense in the first three weeks of the season, the demise of Cameron Brate was noted. Much was made of the Ryan Fitzpatrick to DeSean Jackson chemistry but the same can be said between Winston and Brate. The Harvard educated Tight End has been Jameis’ top redzone target over the past two years. Don’t ben surprised to see Brate’s production dramatically increase on Sunday.

As far as DeSean Jackson is concerned, his production has went off the charts when Fitzpatrick has been throwing him the ball. It will be interesting to see if his production starts to decline with Winston as they struggled last year to connect especially on the deep ball.

The Falcons

As for the Falcons, simply put, they have to win. Sitting at 1-4 and bottom of the Division, this is a must win game for Atlanta. The Dirty Birds are continually finding ways to lose games which they should have won with the exception of last week’s encounter with the Steelers where they were beaten comfortably.

The Falcons have lost their last two home games in excruciating manner. An overtime loss in a titanic see-saw encounter with divisional rivals the Saints was then trumped by a last second defeat at the hands of the Bengals. One of the pre-season favourites are in danger of being out of contention before Halloween. Scary stuff for Falcons fans.

In a similar manner to the Bucs, there has been no issue with scoring points. However, the Defense has been giving up yards and points will ease. The loss of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones cannot be under estimated for this Defense.  Over the last three games, Atlanta have conceded an eye watering 121 points to the opposition.

Not many games in the NFL are won when you are giving up 40 points to the opposition.

Incredibly, Falcons Wide Receiver, Julio Jones, has still to open his touchdown account in 2018. The former first round pick will be licking his lips at the thought of roaming free through the Tampa Secondary.

On the plus side, despite Jones’ aforementioned touchdown drought, Falcons rookie Wide Receiver, Calvin Ridley, has been a sensation. The first round pick should be in the discussions for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Atlanta will be hoping to get Running Back, Devonta Freeman, back in the field of play. Freeman’s season has been hampered by injury so far and is currently listed as doubtful for this weekends clash.

Prediction

So two teams struggling on Defense. Two teams scoring points for fun. Two teams needing a win to keep up with the division leaders. This match-up is going to be a shoot-out. Expect both teams to put up 30 plus points with the Bucs winning by seven.

Final score – Bucs by a touchdown

Image Copyright Buccaneers.com

 

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