The Falcons are overwhelming underdogs on most betting sites against the Buccaneers in the first divisional matchup of the year in Raymond James Stadium, as Tampa Bay is -12.5-point favorites. Vegas and everyone else is counting on the same Falcons team that showed up Week 1 to show up Week 2 and be shredded by Tom Brady and the ferocious defense.
No sound-minded football fan could convince themselves the Falcons have a fighting chance in this. Still, it is the NFL, and anything can happen on any given Sunday. Even if the Falcons do fall to the defending Super Bowl champions, there has to be improvement. The good thing about improving from the season’s first outing is that the team can’t possibly play that poorly in back-to-back weeks.
Arthur Smith could quickly lose the locker room if they get trounced similarly to last week. Fans are equally uneasy, and rightfully so, but I recommend people wait to solidify their opinions until we get further in the season. The Falcons roster is deficient in many areas and is depleted in the trenches, the most important area for these offensive and defensive systems. There is also a learning curve when implementing completely new schemes.
So it shouldn’t be shocking this team struggles, but there has to be even minor improvement. There were mental lapses that resulted in unnecessary, self-inflicting penalties that can’t happen. Hopefully, the Falcons can correct those, but there were also technique issues that should be able to be corrected. If the staff can get the small things like hand placement, foot work, and body leverage in order… there is a bigger problem than just a bad roster and learning new systems.
The Falcons are certainly facing a fair amount of adversity this week, so we will see what Arthur Smith’s Falcons are all about. I honestly expect a bounceback performance from the team that shows glimpses of what they could be under Smith and cover the 12.5-point spread, but still lose the game.