Heading into the 2021 season, our staff rolled out predictions that ranged from 7-10 to 10-7. We were feeling more optimistic about the team than a year ago, obviously, and some of us were feeling just plain old optimistic.
With six weeks to go, the Falcons are sitting at 5-6 and can still technically hit any final record in that range. What stands in the way of them going 10-7 or 9-8 and making a genuine playoff push here at the end of 2021 is their inability to beat the quality teams on their schedule, as they’ve yet to beat a single team over .500. That will have to change if they’re going to make real noise heading into the holidays, starting with an important divisional matchup against the Buccaneers.
Do we think we’ll win today’s game? Read on, and then give us your predictions.
Falcons 24 - Buccaneers 35
Another double-digit loss? Well, yes, but not as bad the first time around - that’s something, right? I do think the Atlanta offense will struggle some with the Buccaneers having a very good run defense, but I get the feeling Kyle Pitts comes alive in this game. I’m a big believer in A.J. Terrell and his impact on the defense and I believe his absence late in the game in week 2 contributed to the collapse. If he stays on the field, I believe this could stay close early on. Ultimately though, Tampa Bay is a Super Bowl favorite for a reason and the Falcons have too many gaps in their roster to be able to keep pace with them. - David Walker
Falcons 24 - Buccaneers 32
Like my friend DW above, I also think Kyle Pitts has a relatively big game this week. If there’s a defense confident enough to want to match Pitts with single coverage, It’s Tampa Bay. That would allow them to blitz the way they want to, but it should also give Pitts some opportunities to win downfield. I’m predicting that this will be a game into the fourth quarter; I just think the Buccaneers are the ones to put together that late drive to emerge with a victory. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if we actually come away from Week 13 feeling OK about this Falcons team down the stretch, even if the result is a loss. - Will McFadden
Falcons 31 - Buccaneers 27
I’ll most likely be completely wrong with this, but I’m taking the Falcons in this one. Yes, the Buccaneers are more talented overall, but they haven’t been perfect this year. Their three losses this season have come on the road after all, and the game will be played in Atlanta. When they faced off in Week 2, the Falcons and Bucs were actually tied at one point before A.J. Terrell left the game with a concussion, and that’s when things went sideways for the Falcons. The Bucs already had chemistry at that point, and I’ll assume that chemistry naturally built for the Falcons since the Week 2 matchup. It’ll take the Falcons making the most of opportunities and a good amount of luck, but I’m predicting the Bucs fall in this one. - Evan Birchfield
Falcons 20 - Buccaneers 27
This could well be a bloodbath, and I think the Buccaneers ultimately come out on top. I do think the Falcons will give them a better game than they did last time, primarily because with Mike Edwards out it doesn’t seem likely Matt Ryan will throw two pick-sixes. I’m a believer that the defense is making some small strides and can hold Tampa Bay under 30, which leaves us with the question of whether the offense can keep pace. Judging from everything we’ve seen over the last month-plus, unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll have enough. - Dave Choate
Falcons 21 - Buccaneers 31
The Falcons are coming off a strong yet bland win over the Jaguars while the Buccaneers are struggling a bit between player suspensions and some ineffectiveness. The Falcons are at home and the Buccaneers could overlook Atlanta with the Buffalo Bills coming up next Sunday. Even under that most optimistic read of the situation, these Falcons are just not built to pull off this win. Not this season. If Atlanta could turn it around, we would have seen some sort of spark before now. The roster is just too limited to hang with the Buccaneers. - Matt Chambers