Julio Jones and Mike Evans combine for 350 yards receiving
These are two of the top receivers in the game today. They will be up against the two worst defenses in the NFL respectively. The Falcons have given up the most points in the NFL, allowing an average of 32.6 points over five weeks. The only team worse than them, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have allowed 34.8 points per game but have only played four games.
And you can probably guess why both of these teams can’t stop anybody in a pass happy NFL. Neither of these secondaries have even put up a fight against opposing offenses. They let receivers run under, around and over the top of them. Last year in Atlanta, the Bucs allowed 12 receptions for 253 yards to Julio Jones alone. Mike Evans just didn’t pitch in the 100 to reach the combined 350 yard-mark, but still had 78 yards and will be going up against a much worse Falcons defense.
It’s going to be a monster day for receivers in Atlanta on Sunday.
Atlanta fails to rush for 70 yards
Even though the Bucs have been dismal on defense, they have yet to allow a running back total more than 65 yards in a game. A lot of that might have to do with their inability to stop anybody in the passing game, but it’s worth mentioning the Bucs do have some firepower on their defensive line.
The Falcons, on the other hand, have not been able to establish a reliable running game all season. The one game they were able to, against the Panthers, was their only win of the season. Atlanta has to be looking to rejuvenate their ground attack these final 12 weeks, but I don’t see it happening this week. The Bucs will be able to win the battle up front, and the Falcons will find too much success in the air to stick with the running game.
The Falcons win by double digits
Now, there isn’t going to be a stat or anything that really backs this up, because frankly, the Falcons probably shouldn’t be favored against anyone the way they are playing. This is purely a gut-feeling. If last week’s drubbing at the hands of the Steelers didn’t wake them up for a divisional matchup at home, the situation is a lot worse than anybody could have imagined.
Take all the Falcons injuries account, and they are still a much more talented squad than the Buccaneers. The offense will do what it has done the entire season at home, averaging 34.7 points per game, while the defense finally shows some pride in Atlanta’s first double-digit victory of 2018.