Watch: Falcons Defense Ready to Feast on Buccaneers Offensive Weaknesses

Tom Pollin

The Atlanta Falcons defense has come out of hiding after their Week 9 bye. Despite allowing over 300 yards of offense in each of their last two games, they’ve held the New Orleans Saints to 9 points and the Carolina Panthers to a lone field goal last week. Now, for Week 12 the Falcons face off against their third division rival in three weeks and the team’s revived defense should enjoy an early Thanksgiving feast against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay has piled up yards and points in their first season running Bruce Arian’s offense. They’re ninth in total yards and seventh in total points in 2019, but there are weaknesses that the Falcons can exploit.

Despite a handful of strong games this season that had some feeling that maybe Arians had made an impact on his play, Jameis Winston has proven to be a bust as the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. It’s his weaknesses that the Falcons should be able to exploit this Sunday.

The Falcons picked off Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen four times last week. Winston has been intercepted 18 times this season. That tops (bottoms?) all NFL quarterbacks this season. Philip Rivers is second with 14.

In 2018, Damontae Kazee tied for first in the league with Chicago’s Kyle Fuller and Miami’s Xavien Howard with seven interceptions. Last week he grabbed his first pick of the season in his second game after being moved back to free safety. You can bet his mouth was watering all week while watching game film of Winston. Desmond Trufant has three interceptions this season. Don’t think he wouldn’t welcome adding to that total also.

Winston also leads all quarterbacks this season in taking sacks. He’s been dropped 36 times in 2019, including twice last week by the New Orleans Saints.

This will be the perfect week for Vic Beasley, Takk McKinley, Adrian Clayborn and the rest of the Falcons front to fatten up their sacks and pressures totals. The defense has already added 11 sacks over the past two weeks after finishing the first half of the season with five.

The positive for Falcons fans is this is the team’s first game at home since the bye week. Considering how the team has played the past two weeks and the record of the quarterback coming to town, there should be plenty of reasons for the fans to cheer this Sunday.