Now the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) will shift their attention to the Atlanta Falcons (4-9), as they enter the final three games of the season. The Buccaneers are coming off an impressive 26-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday and are in hopes they can finish the season with four straight wins to finish 11-5. A couple more wins would all but seal Tampa Bay’s first playoff berth since 2007, signifying a turn for the Buccaneers after one of the most exciting off-seasons in team history led by the signing of future Hall of Famer’s Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. With Atlanta on the slate for this upcoming Sunday afternoon, we take a look at the Buccaneers at Falcons a little closer with our weekly preview.
Stay turnover free on offense
This is one area that has almost assuredly given the Buccaneers victories if they stay away from it and that’s turnovers. Last Sunday’s win was another prime example that if Tampa Bay shrugs off the turnover bug, that they are nearly unbeatable. It wasn’t a pretty offensive day, but an efficient one for Tampa Bay. Brady threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. Brady is now at 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on the season. The Buccaneers are 1-4 when Brady throws a pick and 7-1 when he doesn’t.
Front four must get home
Getting pressure on the quarterback will be big in these final few games, as the Falcons and Lions rely heavily on their passing attacks to produce offense. The Vikings were more of a run to set up the pass kinda team, but the front four were able to get immense pressure on Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins. The pressure led to six sacks and multiple fumbles, which the last one sealed the win for Tampa Bay. Getting plenty of pressure on Matt Ryan will be key for the Buccaneers, as he threw three interceptions in the Falcons’ 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Pressure Ryan and turnovers will come.
LeSean McCoy should remain the 3rd down back
One move that really made Bruce Arians look like a genius on Sunday was going with the switch up on third down running backs, as he made Leonard Fournette a healthy scratch and activated LeSean McCoy to backup Ronald Jones. McCoy provides the Buccaneers with a more sure-handed back out of the backfield and he was able to get some yards rushing as well. McCoy spelled Jones and rushed for 32 yards and if he remains in the lineup, he should see more touches catching the ball as well. Numerous dropped passes by Fournette must’ve contributed to the decision in making a change, as the former Jaguar has had trouble catching passes.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.