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The Falcons are beating up the NFC South. They took it to a very good Saints team and crushed a very average Panthers team, and now they get their easiest on-paper matchup yet with a home game against the Buccaneers. Can they keep the good times rolling? Will they?
That depends on whether the defense holds. I don’t worry about the crummy Buccaneers secondary stopping the Falcons, who could have their single best passing effort of the year against Tampa Bay, at least in terms of efficiency. I do worry about the defense going back in the toilet out of the blue and allowing Jameis Winston to beat them, something he hasn’t historically struggled to do. Winston’s numbers against the Falcons are many, many times better than they are against, say, the Saints, which could lead to a problem.
On paper, though, this is the easiest matchup in months. Let’s see if they can take advantage of it, and here’s how you’ll watch.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 12
When: Sunday, November 24, 1 p.m. EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Announcers: Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale
Radio: 92.9 The Game; XM 228
Key Questions: Will Atlanta shut down Jameis Winston the way they shut down Drew Brees and Kyle Allen? Can the Falcons get their struggling ground game going given that the Bucs have a great run defense and Dirk Koetter won’t abandon it? Will being at home improve Atlanta’s fortunes or damage them after two great road wins?
Prediction: Falcons win, 31-21
SB Nation Opposition Site: Bucs Nation
2019 Falcons Schedule (3-7)
Week 1: @Minnesota Vikings — Loss
Week 2: vs. Philadelphia Eagles — Win
Week 3: @Indianapolis Colts — Loss
Week 4: vs. Tennessee Titans — Loss
Week 5: @Houston Texans —Loss
Week 6: @Arizona Cardinals — Loss
Week 7: vs. Los Angeles Rams — Loss
Week 8: vs. Seattle Seahawks — Loss
Week 9: BYE WEEK
Week 10: @New Orleans Saints — Win
Week 11: @Carolina Panthers — Win
Week 12: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sunday, November 24, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Week 13: vs. New Orleans Saints — Thursday Night Football, November 28, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Week 14: vs. Carolina Panthers — Sunday, December 8, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Week 15: @San Francisco 49ers — Sunday, December 15, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
Week 16: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — Sunday, December 22, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)
Week 17: @Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Sunday, December 29, 1:00 p.m. (FOX)