Atlanta heads into Tampa Bay for a matchup between two franchises whose arrows are pointing in opposite directions, as the Bucs are coming off a Super Bowl championship and the Falcons still have yet to play a single single with a record above .500 since 2017.
The Atlanta Falcons continue to have a winning record all time against each of their division opponents, but they have just one more win than the Buccaneers and the Saints, seeing their all time series lead in each of those matchups shrink to the minimum last season.
The Falcons hold a 28-27 all time series lead against their Floridian division rivals. After treading water against the Bucs between the ‘70s and mid ‘90s and getting out to an 8-6 record in that span (remember, these teams weren’t in the same division until realignment, in 2002), Tampa Bay won six straight matchups, and nine out of 11 between the late 90s and mid 2000s to take firm control of this series.
The arrival of Matt Ryan coupled with the Bucs falling into QB purgatory swung the pendulum back into Atlanta’s favor — the Falcons are 16-10 against the Bucs since Ryan was drafted in 2008, including a run of seven victories in eight meetings between 2008-2012 and six wins in seven tries between 2016-2019.
Tampa Bay swept the Birds last year, however, and they’re heavy favorites to do so again this season to retake the all time series lead. The arrival of Tom Brady last year, has completely changed the culture of that franchise.
The Bucs and Falcons met in Week 17 of last season, as Tampa was preparing for its playoff run while the Birds were on the back end of a spiral.
While the Falcons never took the lead, it was a hard fought football game back and forth until Tom Brady and company pulled away in the late stages.
After going into the halftime break down 23-10 (and after being down 20-3 in the second quarter), Atlanta used 10 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter to get within a field goal.
While the Bucs ended up winning 44-27, the game wasn’t quite as lopsided as the final scoreline indicated — the Birds actually found themselves down by just 3 with less than four minutes remaining.
Tampa Bay was 10-5 going into this game while the Falcons were 4-11, yet the game still went down to the wire. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the same thing happen in this upcoming clash.
The Bucs went on to win the Super Bowl while the Falcons solidified the fourth overall selection in the NFL Draft.
What’s your favorite Falcons vs. Buccaneers moment?