The Falcons aren’t exactly healthy heading into their final game of the season, as they’re down Alex Mack, Julio Jones, and Darqueze Dennard Sunday. The Buccaneers are also not exactly healthy, either, as they’ve placed three defenders on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of the matchup with the Falcons.
Two of those three are essential defenders. Devin White has had a bonkers season, putting up 140 tackles, 16 quarterback hits and 9 sacks as he’s really found his stride in his second NFL season. After leading the league in sacks a years ago, Shaq Barrett has predictably come back to earth a bit, but still has 8 sacks and 16 quarterback hits on the year. The two have as many sacks between them as Atlanta’s top five sack artists combined this year, and it’s no exaggeration to say they’re vital pieces of this Buccaneers defense.
This changes the matchup a bit, to put it mildly. For those Falcons fans hoping for a loss and the highest possible draft pick, this makes the sledding much easier for Atlanta’s offense and greatly increases the chances they’ll win. For those hoping Atlanta will finally beat Tom Brady, this is just straight up good news.
Either way, these two missing the Falcons game could impact playoff seeding, but it will really cost the Bucs if they’re not back and ready to go in time for Tampa Bay’s first playoff game. Buckle up for an interesting matchup this Sunday.