There are many reasons to feel good about the Falcons’ upcoming matchup against the Buccaneers. The fact that the Falcons are absurdly good on third downs and the Buccaneers are absurdly bad at defending third downs has to rank pretty highly on that list, though.
This is one of the hallmarks of Mike Smith’s defenses, unfortunately for Tampa Bay, and we saw it in full force when the Falcons blew away the Bucs defense the last time out. They were aided significantly in that effort by Julio Jones’ dominance, and while I doubt he’ll go over 250 yards again, Julio will be key because there’s no one who can properly defend him on Tampa Bay. The one mortal lock is that the Falcons will be able to do pretty much whatever they please on third downs all night Monday, assuming they don’t screw up the execution.
Monday's matchup...— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) December 12, 2017
Falcons offense: 1st in NFL in third down conversions
Bucs defense: Last in NFL in third down conversions
A win here gets them to nine on the season, ensuring a winning year, and then the Falcons are on track for the postseason if they can win at least one (but preferably both) of their last two games. I’ll guarantee nothing, but that W would mean a great deal.