The Falcons will host the Buccaneers in their second matchup of the season after Tampa trounced Atlanta the first time around in Raymond-James Stadium. Sitting atop the division, they have a substantial lead on the field, but surprisingly, the Falcons lead the Saints and Panthers. Coming off a road win over the reeling Jaguars, the Falcons won’t have as forgiving of an opponent this week. Tom Brady and the Bucs are Super Bowl favorites for a reason, and Arthur Smith’s squad will need all the help they can get facing a superior team in nearly every aspect. Neither team can control injuries, and however unfortunate they might be, competitors take advantage of opponents’ weakness.
- G Ali Marpet (abdomen) — QUESTIONABLE
- CB Jamel Dean (shoulder) — QUESTIONABLE
- LB Devin White (quadriceps) — QUESTIONABLE
- DL William Gholston (wrist)
- S Mike Edwards (knee) — OUT
- G Aaron Stinnie (knee) — OUT
- WR Antonio Brown (ankle) — OUT
- S Jordan Whitehead (calf) — OUT
The Buccaneers are dealing with multiple injuries at a number of critical positions the Falcons could exploit if they’re unable to go. Stinnie, Brown, and Edwards aren’t going to be active Sunday, so if Marpet cannot go, Grady Jarrett should have a field day with whoever they throw at left guard. Where the Bucs are really depleted is in their secondary. Whitehead was added to the list of injured players, practicing in a limited capacity with a calf injury. Today, Bruce Arians’ told the media on Friday that Darden and Whitehead would be out for the game. Tampa’s safety room is severely lacking bodies right now, even if they’re looking to get back a fully healthy corner room. Carlton Davis has been practicing this week and feels confident he can go, but if not, the Falcons should have somewhat of an advantage. Dean, Marpet, and White will all be questionable and situations to monitor up until Sunday.
- DL Jonathan Bullard (ankle) — OUT
The Falcons are relatively healthy. Bullard hasn’t practiced at all this week and has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Atlanta needs all the help they can get pressuring Tom Brady, but Steven Means hasn’t been added to the active roster yet, and it looks like it could be another week before we see the veteran edge defender on the field. Arthur Smith said on Friday he still hasn’t decided whether the Falcons will call him up. If the Falcons have one thing going in their favor this matchup, they’ll be the healthier team.