Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Final Thoughts


You can find the full preview for Falcons-Bucs here.

The Atlanta Falcons have an opportunity to win a seventh game on the season, and they will do so with victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons recorded just six wins in all of 2014, so a seventh out of a possible eight games would be a strong start to the Dan Quinn era.

To improve to an impressive 7-1 record, the Falcons have to go through the rival Buccaneers. This is one of the six most important games of the season, being inside the NFC South, and Atlanta is currently 0-1 inside the division. Ahead of the big game, here are my final thoughts.

Stop Martin and the Falcons win

Tampa Bay wants to run the ball. They want to dominate time of possession with long, sustained drives, wear down the Falcons defense and set up rookie quarterback Jameis Winston with manageable third down situations. And they have the back to do it. 

More from Blogging Dirty

Doug Martin has bounced back from a slow start to the season, and is fresh off of three straight 100-yard performances. In his past three games, Martin has 472 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. To beat the Bucs, you must beat Martin.

Offensive rhythm is key

Offensively, the Falcons have struggled to score points in recent weeks. They got away with it against an even worse Tennessee team, but the same won’t be the case this week. Matt Ryan and the offense need to find some rhythm and stay on the field.

If you’re turning the football over easily, not converting third downs and making countless errors, you’re set up to fail. The offense has to get going. Now is the time to do it.

Welcome to the NFL, Justin Hardy

With Leonard Hankerson out, rookie wideout Justin Hardy finally gets his opportunity. He made a good impression in preseason but wasn’t considered to be ready to play in the regular season. Now, it appears he is.

We’ll see what the rookie is made of, and whether he can provide the spark required on offense. It’s hard not to be excited to see Hardy in action, but expectations must be in check. Let’s see how it pans out.