The Falcons are a field goal favorite against Tampa Bay, a 2-2 team with one impressive win (48-40 over the Saints in Week 1), one increasingly less impressive win (27-21 against the Eagles in Week 2), one narrow loss (30-27 against the Steelers in Week 3) and one absolute beatdown (48-10 by the Bears in Week 4). They’re fresh off a bye, but they remain one of the NFL’s true enigmas, even in this weird year.
Is this a Bucs team that has turned the corner but still has major problems on defense, or are they a pretender who rode two hot weeks from Ryan Fitzpatrick into a solid start to the season? We don’t know the answer to that—though I’d guess the latter—but this game against Atlanta ought to help clarify things.
One thing is evident: The way Jameis Winston has played against this team before, and Tampa Bay’s defensive weakness, means that this turning into anything but a shootout or an Atlanta blowout means big trouble for the Falcons. We’ll see if they can finally start to right the ship now that they’re 1-4.