The Atlanta Falcons (8-5 Overall, 4-2 Away) are at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9 Overall, 3-3 Home). Our Atlanta plays Tampa Bay 2017 NFL pick has Falcons at -7.5 and the over/under at 50.0. The Falcons are 4-1 over their last five, including a 34-20 victory over the Bucs on Nov 26. It was that Nov 26 game when Tampa Bay started on its current three-game losing streak. The team’s longest losing streak this season has been for five games. Their last win was Nov 20 when they beat the Miami Dolphins 30-20.
QB Matt Ryan (65.9 COMP%, 17 TDs, 11 INTs) comes to this game on a bit of a cold streak. Despite playing well in November, he’s struggled in December, completing just 55% of his passes and just one TD pass and three INTs. If he can find WR Julio Jones (73 REC, 15.9 AVG, 3 TDs), who has over 1,100 receiving yards, he could have a good night. TE Austin Hooper, who has three touchdown catches, and WR Mohamed Sanu, with five catches for scores, can also cause some damage, although the latter’s participation is questionable. The ground attack is under the command of Devonta Freeman (152 ATT, 680 YDs, 4.5 AVG, 6 TDs). The Atlanta defense has accumulated 34 sacks and 11 FF. Although they only have four interceptions, the D has defended 52 passes. Their run D is holding teams to 108 yards, while their passing is keeping opponents at 231.
- Ryan must get back in gear
- Solid running game
- This squad will put pressure on QB
Tampa Bay Overview
Since returning to the lineup in December, QB Jameis Winston (62.6 COMP%, 14 TDs, 8 INTs) has played better than he had earlier in the season. Although he did offer up three turnovers in his last outing. He has three go-to pass catchers, WRs Mike Evan, DeSean Jackson, and TE Camron Brate. Brate may or may not play tonight. He does have six TD catches. News is that Peyton Barber will start at running back in this game rather than Doug Martin. Barber has been averaging 3.8 YPA and has scored twice. The Buc defense brings two impressive stats. They have 12 INTs and 17 FF. That makes them very dangerous in tonight’s game. They have just 17 sacks, which means that Ryan should have some time to pass.
- Solid secondary
- QB Winston needs to play consistently
- What effect will Barber have?
Three Primary Takeaways
Our Atlanta plays Tampa Bay 2017 NFL pick offers these three takeaways-
- Tampa Bay has given up 30 sacks
- The Bucs have a tough secondary
- Ryan has struggled as of late
Our Falcons Play Bucs Picks
The Falcons must win this game in order to stay in the playoff hunt. In fact, if they win their final three games of the season, they will win the NFC South and be in the playoffs. What’s in Atlanta’s favor is the fact that the Bucs are struggling in many ways to find consistency. Still, we think this game will be close. Our Atlanta plays Tampa Bay 2017 NFL pick is the Buccaneers at +7.5. We are also going with the under at 50.0.