The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will welcome the Atlanta Falcons to Raymond James Stadium this week for both team's first taste of NFC South action this season.
The Falcons, under new leadership from head coach Arthur Smith, seek their first win of the year after dropping the season-opener to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 32-6. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, looks to extend its winning streak to ten games, dating back to Week 14 of the 2020 season and including its Super Bowl run.
SI Sportsbook currently favors the Bucs by 12.5 points, with the over/under set at 51.5. You can find the AllBucs staff picks and predictions for the game below.
Zach Goodall (1-0): Buccaneers 34, Falcons 24
Bruce Arians and Tom Brady offered Atlanta props for their new-look defense throughout the week, and both expect tough sledding when the Buccaneers have the ball on Sunday.
I don't think that will be the case in the slightest. The Falcons' defense is pretty bad.
The Buccaneers shouldn't have any problems putting points on the board barring any self-inflicted wounds, like Leonard Fournette's drop-turned-fumble against Dallas in week one. Brady and his vast arsenal of passing game weapons could have a field day against Atlanta's mediocre secondary and poor pass rush.
My concern, however, is Tampa Bay's secondary taking on Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts. The Bucs best defensive back, Carlton Davis, was listed as questionable on Friday with a hamstring injury and the team already lost nickel corner Sean Murphy-Bunting to the injured reserve earlier in the week.
Atlanta surely won't put up a mere six points again this week, and the Falcons could have opportunities to make big plays if Davis isn't able to go. Still, that shouldn't be enough to make this game too competitive given Tampa Bay's offensive firepower vs. Atlanta's defensive weaknesses.
Jason Beede (1-0): Buccaneers 31, Falcons 21
As Zach mentioned above, the Bucs secondary will be without Sean Murphy-Bunting and could potentially not have Carlton Davis either vs. Atlanta.
Although the Bucs won both of last year's matchups against the Falcons, quarterback Matt Ryan put up big numbers. Ryan combined to throw for 621 yards and five touchdowns in two games in 2020. With Davis listed as questionable, there's a strong chance Ryan will continue to have success on Sunday in the passing game.
Despite the questions on defense, Tampa Bay's offense will simply be too much for the Falcons. Atlanta gave up 32 points to Philadelphia in Week One after the Bucs won 31-29 over Dallas to open the sea
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady owns an 8-0 record vs. the Dirty Birds all-time and I don't see that changing this week. Brady will throw multiple touchdowns to at least three different receivers en route to the 10 point win. (No, Tampa Bay doesn't cover.)
Evan Winter (1-0): Buccaneers 35, Falcons 27
I keep going back and forth as to whether or not this will be a close game or a double-digit blowout like Vegas expects. Therefore, I have the Bucs leading by two scores late in the game and the Falcons grabbing the back door touchdown to cover.
But I do think the Falcons are going to be in this game throughout its entirety. The offense can't be any worse than it was last week and the Bucs secondary has questions. If Atlanta can protect Matt Ryan and avoid turnovers and penalties, then this game has all the markings of a competitive, down-to-the-wire contest.
At the end of the day, I don't think the Falcons have the horses to keep up with the Bucs, hence the final outcome being another Bucs victory - their 10th straight dating back to last year.
Antonio Brown will record back-to-back games with 120+ receiving yards for the first time since November 2017 and will also grab two receiving touchdowns.
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