The Atlanta Falcons are a completely different team than the one that began the season 1-7.
The Falcons, in the first half of the season looked like one of the worst teams in the league.
Since then, the Falcons are 2-0 (3-7) on the season with two impressive wins on the road in two of the toughest places to play New Orleans and Carolina.
The Falcons made future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees look all of 40 years old as the Falcons sacked home sacked him six times in their 26-9 win and the Falcons defense has 11 sacks in the last two games.
The defensive resurgent started with the moving of Raheem Morris from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive side of the ball as Morris moved from wide receivers coach to secondary coach. And just like that the Falcons have been playing like one of the best teams in football.
The Bucs defense is giving up 31 points a game, and the Falcons have the third best pass offense in the league. You can bet Falcons offensive coordinator and ex-Buccaneer head coach Dirk Koetter is licking his chops at the prospect of taking on this young and inexperienced Bucs secondary.
The Bucs run defense has been stout all season long giving up just over 80 yards a game, but the pass defense has been a huge issue all season.
Now that the Bucs have committed to the young secondary for the rest of the season, another big challenge awaits Sunday in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Combined, these two Falcon receivers have almost 1500 yards and nine touchdowns between them and Jones has always had big games against the Bucs defense.
Koetter also knows how to use a tight end in the offense as we saw that first hand last year with OJ Howard and Cam Brate. Austin Hooper has been that big tight end playmaker for the Falcons this season with 608 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
Defensively, the Falcons have really turned up the pressure on opposing quarterbacks the last two games recording 11 sacks and have overall smothered opposing offenses as the defense has allowed a total of 12 points and zero touchdowns the last two games.
The last touchdown the Falcons defense allowed was in Seattle on October 27 with 27 seconds to go in the first half as the Seahawks took a 24-0 lead.
Since then the Falcons have allowed five field goals over two and a half quarters of football. Thats a pretty impressive stat. The Bucs offense will have to limit the turnovers and use the run to set up the pass to have success against this defense.
Let’s hope Byron Leftwich loosens up the playbook a bit and the Bucs run the ball more than eight times.
MIke Evans and Chris Godwin remain the best receiving duo in the league with 1880 yards between them and bothe receivers could go over 1,000 yards in receiving this season in the game against the Falcons.
The Bucs are still looking to make tight end OJ Howard a big part off the offense as the Bucs seem to go away from him after he drops a pass and his number is not called the rest of the game.
Jameis Winston who injured his left ankle in the loss to New Orleans has had a lot of success in his career against the Falcons throwing 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
Linebacker Carl Nassib, the Bucs best run stopper will be back for the game against the Falcons.
The Falcons are hot and the Bucs seem to give the ball away like gifts at Christmas time. They seem to let the wins slip away late in the game as they just can’t seem to make enough plays to close out the game.
I think the Falcons win this game in Atlanta 34-24.