Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons: Eight expectations for Week 2

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Rob Gronkowski
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Rob Gronkowski /

After a Week 1 victory over Dallas, here are eight expectations for the Buccaneers as they take on the Atlanta Falcons

1) Expect Tom Brady to put up another 300+ yards, 3+ touchdown stat line. Regardless of age, Brady looks sharper than ever, and his entourage of pass catchers couldn’t be healthier.

Whether the Falcons try to take away the receivers or slow down the tight ends, the Bucs have an “embarrassment of weapons,” and Brady will exploit the obvious mismatches. If this game looks anything like the last time they met up, the Bucs might put up huge numbers all around. Expect Brady to keep himself in the MVP conversation.

2) With that in mind, expect Antonio Brown to keep lighting up the league with another 100+ yard game. Should the Falcons’ secondary smother Evans and Godwin with double teams, it’ll only increase the likelihood that AB becomes the more favorable target in Week 2. Eventually, defenses will shift their focus to AB, but for now, expect Brown to stay hot. Sign him up for another touchdown.

3) Although Gio Bernard was not overly used in Week 1, Byron Leftwich successfully peppered him in throughout the game. Expect the Bucs’ offense to continue to see how Gio fits and when he fits. Not to overlook the Falcons, but this matchup, this early on, is the perfect playground for Bernard to further acclimate and to establish himself as a chain-moving nightmare. Especially with a road trip to face those pesky Rams on the horizon.

4)  Expect the Buccaneers to stuff the run. Expect Vita Vea to put on a clinic against Atlanta’s blockers and backfield. A healthy Vita Vea is a beautiful thing. Between Vea and the league’s best rush defense, the Falcons will struggle mightily with their run game, and they’ll look to Matt Ryan’s arm to save them. With injuries to the Bucs’ secondary, the Falcons are already game planning accordingly. But so is DC Todd Bowles.

5) Without Sean Murphy-Bunting on the field, expect the Falcons to attack the secondary, but expect the Bucs to be ready. Matt Ryan and company will look to exploit the young corners early and often, especially once they find themselves stalling out with an unreliable run game. Thanks to the coaching prowess of Bowles, Jamel Dean and Ross Cockrell will be up to the challenge. All said and done, Bucs fan will be delighted with their depth as they wait for the triumphant return of SMB!

6) Meanwhile, expect to see a lot from ILB Lavonte David, as he’ll likely to be tasked with covering rookie phenom TE Kylie Pitts. Just as Lavonte held his own against Travis Kelce during the Super Bowl, it’ll take an encore performance to keep Pitts in check in Week 2. He’ll certainly have some help in the Bucs’ secondary, but Lavonte will determine how productive Pitts will be throughout the game. Keeping Pitts in check early on won’t be easy, but that’s what makes Lavonte David one of the best in the business.

7) Did someone say “I’m here to block, baby!” or what?! Expect more of everything from a surging Rob Gronkowski. Expect help blocking to establish the run, expect a few clutch catches just to reassert his dominance in the NFL. For everyone sleeping on Gronk and for those insisting “he runs with a mattress on his back,” Week 2 will be the alarm clock that reminds us what time it is. Pencil Gronk down for another touchdown, but more importantly, watch for Gronk to showcase his versatility as the league’s most complete tight end.

8) Expect plenty of action from the back section. Just because Ronald Jones is slated to be the starter, it does not mean Lenny Fournette isn’t poised to take his share of snaps throughout the game. The Bucs will work to establish the run early on and you can expect to see plenty of both Rojo and Lenny. Rojo will be eager to prove he can better protect the ball when given the opportunity— expect a fumble free game on his behalf. Lenny will remind us how explosive he can be when it matters most. Don’t be surprised when he punches his way into the end zone.

Expect plenty of points.

Fire the Cannons.

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