Scouting the Falcons vs Buccaneers matchup with The Pewter Plank

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 3: Wide receiver Julio Jones
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 3: Wide receiver Julio Jones /

Atlanta Falcons will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. This divisional game is a must win for the Falcons. We sent some questions over to our friends at FanSided’s The Pewter Plank ahead of the game.

The Atlanta Falcons will face divisional opponent The Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday. The Falcons have yet to win a division game this season. A win against Tampa would move Atlanta to 7-4 on the season and primed to enter the last five games of the season with momentum and confidence.

Before Sunday’s kickoff, we had an opportunity to ask Site-Expert James Yarcho of FanSided’s The Pewter Plank about the Buccaneers and his thoughts on this divisional matchup.

"Blogging Dirty (BD): Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-0 in their last two games. What do you attribute to this win streak?"

"James Yarcho (JY): The defense has stepped up in a big way during the last two games. Ryan Fitzpatrick is managing the offense well, but at the same time the last two wins haven’t exactly come against the most formidable of opponents. The Jets and Dolphins are pretty much chalked up as wins for almost any fan base that is ready to face them. It was a bit concerning that Matt Moore threw for 282 yards in just the second half, so the defense is far from where it needs to be or was expected to be coming into the season. The Buccaneers forced four takeaways in the first half and managed only twenty points out of it. So yes, they’re riding a two game win streak, but it’s not necessarily all that impressive."

"BD: Going into the season, it was well known the Buccaneers had significant offensive weaponry. Who on offense has stood out to you most thus far this season?"

"JY: So far, the biggest standout on offense is the ineptitude. We were all stoked when the Bucs landed DeSean Jackson, however head coach Dirk Koetter seemed to only want to use him for deep passes as long as Jameis Winston was quarterback, leading to massive disappointment. I’m a big Winston fan, but he may be the worst quarterback in the NFL among all the starters at throwing the deep ball. Now that Fitzpatrick has taken over – due to Winston’s shoulder injury – they’re getting Jackson more involved in the short to intermediate passing game and allowing his speed and elusiveness to make plays. Mike Evans is having a down year, but a lot of that can be attributed to Winston’s struggles while playing with a torn shoulder. Basically, the chemistry we saw in OTAs and training camp has not translated to Sundays. The offensive line is a major concern. Doug Martin is good for busting off at least one big run – fifteen to twenty-plus yards – that gets called back for a penalty by an offensive lineman in every single game. It’s the offensive line that got both Ryan Griffin and Jameis Winston injured. That will have to be a major focus in the offseason."

"BD: Is there a timetable on quarterback Jameis Winston’s return? If so, what is it?"

More from Blogging Dirty

"JY: Right now they’re treating Winston as week to week. There were rumblings he could go this Sunday until that was squashed earlier in the week. If it were me, I would put Winston on the shelf the rest of the year. They aren’t making the playoffs and putting Winston back in is a no win situation. If he plays poorly, you’ll have those people that want him replaced. If he plays well, it ruins draft stock. The only reason he will be put back on the field is in an attempt for Dirk Koetter to save his job. The last two weeks have cooled his seat down, but don’t be mistaken – his seat is red hot right now. I would rather Winston head to injured reserve and allow that shoulder to fully heal. The last thing I want to see is an Andrew Luck situation in Tampa when the Buccaneers have their first franchise quarterback in team history."

"BD: Which Atlanta Falcons player concerns you most in terms of matching up against the Buccaneers?"

"JY: Although the run defense has stepped up the past few weeks, the two-headed monster that is Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is terrifying. They’ve become a formidable duo and – until the Saints decided to be good again – were the best tandem in the division. You could still make the argument that Freeman and Coleman are better than Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, but it may be a little tough this season. Both are play makers in the run and pass game and you almost have to have a linebacker assigned to them every play, opening up the middle of the field for Matt Ryan to do damage."

"BD: What is your final score prediction for Sunday’s matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?"

"JY: I think the Falcons take this one 37-21. The Falcons are still the defending NFC Champions and are in the hunt for the postseason. If the Buccaneers can play spoiler and rattle off a third win in a row, fantastic. However, I don’t see that happening. The pass defense is still sketchy and it’s the perfect “get right” game for a struggling Julio Jones. The standout player for the game will be Kwon Alexander as he plays the Falcons better than any other team and he always steps his game up in Atlanta as a tribute to his late brother."

The Atlanta Falcons need to win Sunday, not just for record sake, but for confidence as well. Wins generate confidence and entering into the final handful of games this season, Atlanta will need all the confidence and momentum they can get. The talent is there. Now Atlanta needs to execute.

Next: Julio Jones Picks Himself Up and Dusts Himself Off

Thanks to James and the team over at The Pewter Plank! See you Sunday!