It seems like a long time ago now, but the Falcons offense actually started off solidly against the Eagles defense when it came to moving the ball. Although both drives stalled in the red zone that resulted in 6 points, it felt like the running game may be gaining some traction against a pretty talented Eagles defensive line. Well, we know what happened after that.
The Eagles defensive line really started to get a feel for what Atlanta was doing and the domination began. The hope here is that Matt Ryan and crew can get the ball moving against the Buccaneers defense and eliminate the penalties, allowing them to score a lot more than they did in Week 1. So how does our offense stack up against their defense?
In the trenches
The Buccaneers have some monsters up front defensively. Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and Vernon Gholston are just a nightmare for any offensive front. Add Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett at OLB and you have a front that is not only very stout against the run, but can get after the quarterback relentlessly. You really won’t find a much better front in the division, unfortunately.
The Falcons have a very young and inexperienced offensive line that got absolutely brutalized against the Eagles. Outside of Jake Matthews, who had at least an average game, the rest of the line performed very poorly. While the hope is that the group performs better as a whole, Coach Smith is going to have to have a masterful game plan to keep Ryan clean and to have any semblance of a run game.
Advantage: Tampa Bay
The Skill Positions
The Buccaneers also have one of the better middle linebacker duos in Devin White and Lavonte David. Two sideline to sideline ILB’s that play well in the run and in coverage, these two are definitely threats to impact the game in multiple ways. The weakest group on the Bucs defense is in the secondary. Although talented, the Bucs are now thin at the corner position and have shown inconsistencies. However, they do have a strong Safety group lead by Antoine Winfield, Jr.
This is truly the strength of the Falcons offense. Matt Ryan is still a consistent and very savvy quarterback leading the offense. Calvin Ridley is a true number 1 receiver and 2021 4th overall pick Kyle Pitts and former 2018 1st rounder Hayden Hurst are big receiving threats at the tight end position. New additions Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson give a different dynamic to the running back position, and both can catch the ball. The Falcons certainly have the weapons to do damage when utilized properly if they can keep that Buccaneers front from ruining their day early on.
If the Falcons are to have any chance at competing in this game, the offense is going to have to massively improve. While I give the Falcons a slight edge at the skill positions, the inexperience in the trenches against a star studded defensive front 7 will ultimately lead to the doom of the offense unless they have something great up their sleeve.
I don’t really expect the offense to get any type of rhythm unless everyone plays out of their minds and Coach Smith calls the perfect game. Both seem unlikely.
Advantage: Tampa Bay