The Atlanta Falcons (+11) are coming off a road win against a team that might not get to 4 wins all year. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11) are coming off of a thrilling win on the road against the Indianapolis Colts and they have a firm grasp on the NFC South. In Week 2, this matchup turned into a beat down with the Bucs winning in Tampa Bay 48-25.
Both teams are slightly different now. Tampa Bay has some key players injured, including talented guard Ali Marpet. The Falcons are now without the services of wide receiver Calvin Ridley as well as tight end Hayden Hurst as their offense struggles to find someone other than Kyle Pitts and Cordarelle Patterson who can consistently contribute meaningful production.
Atlanta features one of the worst defenses in the league and they are dead last in sacks, a stat Falcons fans are all too familiar with. They’ll face a Tampa Bay offense that is loaded with talent helmed by Tom Brady, one that has scored 30 or more points 6 times this year already. With an 8-3 record, it’s unlikely the Buccaneers feel their spot atop the NFC South is in any danger, but they undoubtedly want that top seed for the playoffs to ensure they play at home through January.
At just 5-6, the Falcons are still in the thick of the playoff race somehow. They’re also second in the NFC South, with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints both stumbling in recent weeks. We’re into December and Atlanta is somehow still relevant - something we haven’t seen since 2017. With a new coaching staff and one of the worst salary cap situations in the entire NFL, they have had to make do with a roster with some talented starters but a lot of questionable depth.
On paper, this looks like a nightmare for Atlanta, but division games can often go sideways. If this one goes to script, though, the Falcons simply can’t match up on either side of the ball. They don’t have the secondary to contain the Buccaneers receivers and their offense lacks the talent to keep up with their opponent.
Atlanta has also not won a game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium all year, as their only “home” win was in London. That streak seems likely to continue as the Buccaneers look ready to finish the year strong en route to another post-season appearance.
The Falcons are big underdogs at home as the DraftKings Sportbook has them losing by double digits.
Score prediction: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 35
Bold prediction: Cordarelle Patterson is responsible for all 3 touchdowns.
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Falcons vs. Bucs Week 13
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Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.