Our writers and readers have pretty much predicted the Falcons to win in week 1 against the Eagles at home. While we love the optimism, the week 2 game is a dramatic shift in location and opponent. Atlanta gets their first division game early by facing the defending champion Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
This is a tough assignment and all signs point to the Bucs having improved their roster since last year. Let’s take a look at how our writers think this one will play out.
Falcons 24 - Buccaneers 31
The Eagles are a team in rebuild mode while the Bucs are a team trying to maximize their championship window. Love him or hate him, Tom Brady is still an excellent QB and Tampa has given him a plethora of weapons to use. Dean Pees will have his work cut out for him. Unless Arthur Smith has found a way to install his offense into a new team in record time, we’re likely looking at a very tough challenge for the new head coach and play caller. That said, Matt Ryan has almost always played well against Tampa Bay and that gives me some optimism that the offense can put points up. I fear, though, that it won’t be enough. The Bucs are the class of the division and until Atlanta proves otherwise, they have to be the clear favorite. - David Walker
Falcons 28 - Buccaneers 37
The Bucs beat the Falcons a year ago twice, they beat them by a combined 21 points, and the second game was effectively a blowout. Injuries are probably going to take a larger bite out of the Bucs this year than they did in 2020, when Football Outsiders had Tampa Bay as the healthiest team in football, but not this early in the season. A fully powered Buccaneers squad is a terrific team, unfortunately, and I don’t expect the Falcons to be good enough defensively to stop their high-powered offense or good enough on offense right away to overcome a talented defense. Couple that with this being a road game and you’ve got one of the most obvious recipes for a loss on the entire 2021 schedule.
If the Falcons do pull this one off, I’m getting my hopes up immediately. You’ve been warned. -Dave Choate
Falcons 21 - Buccaneers 34
When my offseason optimism was in full swing, my inner Falcons fan had Atlanta splitting with the Super Bowl champions. Since then, the Buccaneers have retained everyone, both players and coaches, while the Falcons traded Julio Jones. Even if we blame so much of the last two years on Dirk Koetter, predict the Buccaneers to regress and the Falcons to bounce back, expecting to be competitive against Tampa just feels so unlikely. I’ll consider it a win if the Falcons look competent. - Matt Chambers
Falcons 14 - Buccaneers 35
As much as I’d love to see the Falcons travel down to Tampa and defeat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, I don’t think there’s a realistic chance of it happening. There’s a reason the Bucs were able to retain a majority of their free agents, because unfortunately they are in win-now mode which succeeded last year in becoming the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. It’s June still, so who knows what the Falcons opening day roster will look like and how this offense will work, but at the present moment, I am not optimistic about this game. - Evan Birchfield
Falcons 17 - Buccaneers 31
This game coming so early in the season really works against Atlanta. I predict the offensive line will struggle in this game with two new members going up against one of the NFL’s top defenses, and that will cap the level of success the Falcons can have on offense. Defensively, I think some of the continuity issues on the back end and the inability to get pressure with four guys will make it tough to hold down a loaded Tampa Bay offense. This is just a tough matchup all the way around for the Falcons. - Will McFadden
2021 Week 2: Bucs
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