The Buccaneers clinched a playoff berth this last weekend after beating up the Detroit Lions, their first playoff game since the invention of high definition television, the iPhone, and the first Black president. The only question left is who the Buccaneers will play against. The Buccaneers could potentially face off against the Los Angeles Rams or the winner of the NFC East depending on if the Buccaneers win on Sunday.
Is that matchup worth enough to risk their starters? The Falcons, the preliminary owners of the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, could lose their draft slot if they win a game against a team of backups. It would be a nightmare scenario for fans hoping for one of the top picks in the draft. Beating Blaine Gabbert will not show that Atlanta is the better team, will not help anyone keep their job, and will really only serve to torpedo their draft plans. There is not much fun in finishing another wasted season with a win that only impacts the team’s draft slot.
Luckily for the Falcons, Bruce Arians said he intends to play his starters after previously waffling on if they will play or not.
This is certainly the right move considering all the new additions for Tampa dealing with the limited offseason. However, as we see in most years, coaches still get itchy trigger fingers pulling their players in a meaningless game. Even Dirk Koetter could outscore the Gabbert to Cameron Brate connection. If Arians pulls Tom Brady and Co. at halftime, we may see some especially intriguing storylines develop late in Sunday’s game with the new head coach’s and general manager’s potential marquee player in the balance.