Buccaneers’ Five Toughest Games In 2017
By Bailey Adams
Week 15: Dec. 18 vs. Atlanta Falcons (8:30 p.m.)
Tampa Bay will obviously play each team in the NFC South twice, but this Monday Night Football tilt with the defending NFC champions is the toughest one of those games. Not only will the Falcons be a tough opponent, but the bright lights of Monday Night Football will add some pressure as well. And, with this game coming so late in the season, it’s possible that this will have playoff or even division title implications.
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The Bucs have been somewhat hit-or-miss against the Falcons in recent years. Back in 2014, Tampa Bay was swept in the season series. The next year, it picked up a series sweep of its own. Then, in 2016, the teams split the two meetings. Especially now, it feels like the Bucs are ready to contend with the Falcons. This game will go a long way in determining whether the team really is over the hump. Of course, that also depends on Tampa Bay’s record coming into the game.
The connection between Matt Ryan and Julio Jones is one that is always difficult to stop. By week 15, the Bucs defense should know its identity. That unit will need a big day in front of a national audience to give the offense and its firepower a chance to make a big-time statement.