Atlanta Falcons (6-5 SU, 4-7 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 6, 1:00pm
Where: Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida
by Bob, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL +2 / TAM -2
Over/Under Total: 46
This Sunday in beautiful Tampa, Florida, two NFC South teams will face off in a game that could have major playoff implications. The 6-5 Atlanta Falcons will take on the 5-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game that could shift not only the NFC South division standings, but also the NFC wild card picture. So far, Atlanta is the second wild card team but they are hanging on by a threadand very tiny, weak thread. The Bucs are gaining momentum and are playing better and better each week. These two teams are very opposite of what they were just a few weeks ago. This should be a fun one to watch.
The line on this game has Tampa as a two point favorite at home over the Falcons while the total points are set at 46 combined. As of Tuesday morning, the Buccaneers are a slightly more popular play over the Falcons. 54% of the action is on Tampa to cover at home while a staggering 67% has this game staying under the posted total of 46. This will be the second time these teams have met in 2015 and if you do not remember, the Falcons dropped a heartbreaker at home to Tampa back in week eight. At that time, the Falcons were looking sharp and many thought they had the potential to be a top two or three seed in the NFC. My oh my how things have changed since that day. Tampa is now looking like the team on the rise, and a win over Atlanta this weekend would shake up the NFC playoff picture in a major way.
So, the Atlanta Falcons, what on earth is their problem? They have the top rushing defense in the NFL. They rank 5th in passing yards and they are also a top 15 rushing team as well. How have they lost four in a row with that type of team? And it is not like they are losing to playoff teamsthey are losing to teams they have no business losing to, with the exception of the Vikings this past weekend. The Vikings are becoming a contender but to get dominated at home like Atlanta did was uncalled for. So, what is the problem? I can start by saying the Falcons have turned the ball over seven times in the redzone. Thats right, seven times. Just this past Sunday against Minnesota, Atlanta was on the Vikings two yard line, run a touchdown in to take the lead. Well, the touchdown was called back for a penalty, then two plays later, Matt Ryan throws a pick in the endzone. Atlanta went from taking the lead, to being able to tie the game with a field goal, to handing the ball back to Minnesota and coming away with NO points. You cannot win that way, and that has been an issue with the Falcons since the Saints game about a month ago. Plain and simple this weekend: Atlanta NEEDS to win this football game. The wheels are just about off and if they lose their 5th straight and go 0-3 in the division, that will not bode well with the final weeks of the season. Atlanta still has to play Carolina twice and the Saints again, which is never an easy game for the Falcons. Starting 5-0 and not making the playoffs could be a disaster. Also, Matt Ryan, if you are reading this, can you go one game without throwing a pickplease? Sorry, that was the Falcons fan coming out in me. Totally unbiased though, the Falcons need to cut down on turnovers. Simple as that.
Tampa has been heating up lately and playing pretty good football. Jameis Winston is actually showing signs of maturity and Doug Martin has been shredding defenses with his legs. This team is beginning to gel and are becoming pretty good. The defense needs some help seeing as how they are allowing nearly 26 points a game, but they have gotten better each week as well. There is not too much to say about this game with the Falcons except I sense a playoff type atmosphere in Raymond James Stadium this Sunday. The fans know a win over the Falcons will put Tampa right in the mix of a playoff spot, but a loss will set them back a ways and it may be tough to overcome at that point. The keyforce turnovers. The Falcons, especially Matt Ryan, are prone to turning the ball over when pressured. If Tampa mixes up the defenses and brings the heat, I PROMISE you that Matt Ryan coughs it up. If Tampa allows the Falcons offense to get rolling, which it has not done in some time, it could be a long day.
I have no faith in the Falcons right now. If Tampa were favored by 5-7 points then maybe I would lean towards the Falcons keeping it close, but a two point spread and the Falcons have not won in over a month, nah, Im good. I will ride the hot hand and predict Tampa to get a 23-19 win over the Falcons this Sunday.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2
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