The Buccaneers are coming off of a loss to the Saints last week. Here is the blueprint for a Bucs victory against another rival: the Atlanta Falcons.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) are heading to Atlanta to face off against the Atlanta Falcons (3-7) in their first matchup of the season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This could potentially be a battle for which team finishes in last place in the NFC South this season.
The blueprint to a pewter and red victory on Sunday against the Falcons is actually running the football more than eight times in the game. Last week, the Bucs ran the ball six times with their running backs and two times with Quarterback Jameis Winston and it resulted in the lowest team rushing attempts in franchise history. It says a lot about coaching when your Quarterback is also your leading rusher in a game.
The Falcons rush Defense ranks 18th in the NFL giving up 107.6 rushing yards a game and 1,076 yards on the season. In the last two weeks, Atlanta has given up 129 rushing yards combined to New Orleans and Carolina.
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The Panthers and Saints have two of the best running backs in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. The Buccaneers have a tandem of Ronald Jones II and Peyton Barber. On the season, Jones II and Barber have combined for 787 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns.
The Bucs’ defense must contain the Falcons’ offense who are missing two key players in Running Back Devonta Freeman and Tight End Austin Hooper. Former Buccaneers tight end Luke Stocker and running back Brian Hill will handle the starting duties at those positions.
The young pewter and red secondary will have to try and contain one of the best wide receivers in the NFL: Julio Jones. In his two games last season against the Buccaneers, Jones had 282 receiving yards and one touchdown.
One week after not playing a defensive snap, rookie cornerback Jamel Dean should be getting some playing time. Dean was the highest graded defender in Week 10 across the NFL but Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles did not want to use him in zone coverage last week against the Saints.
The Bucs need to get their pass rush going with Outside Linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett along with Carl Nassib who is returning from injury. If the Buccaneers truly want to win, they have to shut down the Falcons number one option Julio Jones and force Matt Ryan out of the pocket and into their arms.