TV Schedule: Sunday, Oct. 20, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Stadium: Georgia Dome
Weather: High 73, Low 49
Line: Atlanta (-7)
It’s quite possible that the Atlanta Falcons could miss out on the playoffs this season. Sure, it’s only six weeks into the season, but a 1-4 record to begin the season has to have some people scratching their heads because of the amount of talent this team possesses. Matt Ryan has struggled to string any type of win streak together this season even though he is having a solid season statistics-wise. It’s not like this team is getting blown out in every game as all four of the losses have been decided by seven points or less. Ryan has 1,649 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season with Julio Jones being his favorite target with 41 catches for 580 yards and two scores. Now that Jones is out for the season, Ryan will need to rely on Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez to be the top targets.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not a team that would normally be able to hang with the Falcons but, with both teams struggling, anything is possible. After releasing Josh Freeman, the Buccaneers are moving forward with Mike Glennon at quarterback. Glennon has completed 58 percent of his passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns to go along with three interceptions in two starts for the Bucs. Vincent Jackson will give the rookie quarterback so help in the pass game as he is the team’s leading receiver with 26 catches for 406 yards and two scores while Mike Williams, the next best receiver, has just 15 catches for 164 yards and two scores. Doug Martin has been a bit of a disappointment in the run game this season, rushing the ball 116 times for 409 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Buccaneers were expected to have a scary unit in 2013, but it has yet to live up to the expectations. Not really standing out in any defensive category, the Bucs’ most impressive statistic is their 10th-ranked scoring defense, allowing just 20.2 points per game. The Falcons, on the other hand, excel in just one defensive category while underperforming for the most part. The secondary in the seventh-worst in the league, but rank sixth in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game.
PREDICTION: Buccaneers 20, Falcons 24