The roster is just about the same as it was a week ago, minus an injury or two. The Falcons haven’t made any outside moves, and Dan Quinn seemed legitimately excited to have some continuity this week, for what that’s worth.
That said, if the Falcons continue to get nothing from strong safety and linebacker, a move may be in the offing after this week.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Falcons will be without Grady Jarrett and Devonta Freeman again. They’ve held up fine at running back—though they could still use Free—so that’s not a major concern, even against a stout Tampa Bay run defense.
The loss of Jarrett continues to hurt, though, and hurt a lot. The Falcons were punchless against Pittsburgh without him, and they’ll need stellar performances from the likes of Deadrin Senat and Jack Crawford to even begin to make up for that. Terrell McClain, while capable of playing well, has been pretty quiet this year.
More broadly, the Falcons are still missing some of their best defenders, and the results haven’t been pretty without them.
What’s at stake?
The season. Another less puts the Falcons in a position of having to conquer even more insurmountable odds, as the last time they went 1-5 was the disastrous 2007 season. A loss here means it goes from essentially over to 99.9% certainly over.
So the Falcons need a win if they want to stay afloat and not stick a fork in a disappointing season, while the Bucs need one to avoid falling below .500 and edging closer to a complete wipeout of the coaching staff and front office in Tampa Bay.
This is a winnable game for the Falcons, as the Saints and Bengals games were, but with a similar host of obstacles. The Buccaneers can and will sling it, putting pressure on a defense that hasn’t been up to the task. Their defense is awful, though, which should allow the Falcons to turn this into a shootout.
I think the Falcons can win, and I think they will win, but confident bets are hard to come by with this Falcons team.