One final time, we jump in feet first to predicting the score of a Falcons game. This time it’s less critical than it has been at any point this year, given that Atlanta’s locked into a top ten pick and very locked in to a losing season, but there’s still a little intrigue with the injuries in this game and Tampa Bay’s playoff seeding being on the line. Oh, and a top five draft pick, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Here’s our predictions, which are fairly glum. What are yours?
Falcons 14 - Buccaneers 24
Atlanta’s offense isn’t creative enough to overcome multiple backups on the offensive line. While I believe Matt Hennessy will be fine over the long-term, the combination of him and either Matt Gono or Justin McCray will limit what this offense can do, especially facing a duo like Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett. The defense, however, has been better lately and I think they’ll keep this closer than it reasonably should be. Atlanta holds on to the top draft pick for the new regime. - David Walker
Falcons 23 - Buccaneers 24
Sunday’s game is actually starting to stress me out. In the past two seasons I have been supportive of the Falcons still searching for wins even with the playoffs far out of reach. However, we know the Falcons will have a new head coach and general manager who may be working with a franchise-changing pick. I have seen so many meaningless games and this is yet another one... except with that meaningless win the Falcons can take themselves out of range for, say, a top quarterback. My biggest concern is they show up, win, and miss their chance at that top prospect. Again, I am almost never a supporter of losing. I want this team to win and I want to enjoy watching them.
But they need to not Falcons this up, take this loss, and prepare for 2021. - Matt Chambers
Falcons 24 - Buccaneers 28
It would be a very Falcons thing to win this game, but a motivated Bucs team at home should be able to overcome the loss of a couple of top defenders and pull this one off. Then we can get into the offseason, which should be the most interesting one we’ve had in years. Just give me a good, competitive game either way. - Dave Choate
Falcons 26 - Buccaneers 27
The Buccaneers still have something to play for even with their playoff spot sewn up. A win here will send them on the road against the winner of the NFC East while a loss could have them in Seattle during Wild Card weekend. Not having Julio Jones once again will hurt considerably against an athletic defense. Hopefully (and I use that term loosely) Dirk Koetter has picked up a few things since the first matchup in Atlanta against a physical Tampa defense. With that being said, I don’t think I’ll get my hopes up for that. - Eric Robinson