Last week, we all were feeling optimism. The season was just beginning, the Falcons were somewhat of a blank slate, and the Eagles didn’t seem to be the most challenging opponent on paper. A week later, with a road game against the Buccaneers looming and fresh off that ugly loss, that optimism has fizzled.
We’re all over the map when it comes to whether the loss dented our confidence in the season overall—most of us were hovering around 8-9 or 9-8 to begin with—but obviously we’d be feeling a lot better about this team’s chances of a bounceback effort if they weren’t facing arguably the toughest matchup they’ll have all year. Regardless of how we feel about the larger season, I didn’t think anyone was going to come in here and drop a “Falcons will win” hot take, and indeed we did not get any.
Our predictions are below, share yours in the comments!
Falcons 10 - Buccaneers 35
I’d have to imagine that Matt Ryan has woken up in a cold sweat every night. The thought of Matt Hennessy and Jalen Mayfield trying to stop Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh seems comical after their performances in week 1. On the other side, Tom Brady is ageless and he has somehow instituted a Madden cheat code in real life to assemble a ridiculous number of weapons. Yes, division games can go off the rails, but this one feels like a wrecking ball in the making. Atlanta starts 0-2 and the calls for Arthur Smith to be fired will ridiculously start. - David Walker
Falcons 13 - Buccaneers 38
My first impulse was to go: Falcons Pain - Buccaneers Unmitigated Success. The Falcons are in a bad spot. It is easy to look back and question moves with hindsight, however, a lot of the moves were questionable at the time, such as failing to address the left guard spot, not playing most starters in preseason, or making Dante Fowler a starter. This team has a long way to go while the Buccaneers are in midseason form. The only real question is if the Falcons can show any signs of improvement considering the frightening level of talent in Tampa. The Falcons have a shot at a moral victory if they don’t get blown out. - Matt Chambers
Falcons 20 - Buccaneers 28
C’mon, Dave. I know. Based on last week, expecting this thing to wrap up within 10 points is foolish. I look at this team and think the Eagles loss was about as bad as it’s going to get for them this year, even with all their flaws, because they looked overwhelmed, overmatched and incapable of executing even the simple things that Dean Pees, Arthur Smith and this roster have shown themselves to be good at in the past. Given that it’s a divisional game, given that I think the Falcons will dig deep and find a better effort than they managed against Philadelphia and given that Tom Brady seems to be good for a couple of turnovers on a semi-regular basis these days, we’ll hopefully end up with something more watchable.
Of course, the difference between the Falcons staying neck-in-neck for most of the game and scoring 17 points in the late third and early fourth quarter is significant. Nobody’s going to be stunned if this is a blowout. I’m hopeful the Falcons can make real strides this week and carry them into a couple of more straightforward games ahead. - Dave Choate
Falcons 17 - Buccaneers 38
This is such a lopsided matchup. Tampa Bay is as loaded as it gets from a roster standpoint. Atlanta is unbalanced and flawed in several areas. It’s going to get ugly, particularly in the trenches. Arthur Smith will need to do everything he can to get the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hands quickly. There needs to be a plan to get Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage more involved as well. It’s hard to see how this game stays competitive. The Falcons will struggle to generate much of a pass rush, while Matt Ryan will be under duress often. Not to mention, Tampa Bay has the best wide receiver trio in the league. It’s going to be another long day for the new regime. - Allen Strk
Falcons 24 – Buccaneers 28
All optimism I had for this team heading into Week 1 is gone. Between the Falcons and Eagles last week, someone had to win so the loss wasn’t the issue. It was the fashion in which the Falcons lost at home by 26 points. Now, I’m not in a full panic after only one game but at the same time, this team has to prove to the fans that Week 1 was a fluke if they want to be taken seriously anytime soon. With a Week 2 road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s hard to imagine the Falcons “getting right” against the defending Super Bowl champions. I want to see it, but I just can’t. With that being said, all logic says the Falcons should be blown out in this one but considering what we watched last week, this appears to be the same Falcons we are used to seeing. When you think they’ll win, they get destroyed… but when you think they’ll get destroyed, sometimes they win or at least keep it close. I think this will be a close game solely because the Falcons want to further confuse us. – Evan Birchfield
Falcons 24 - Buccaneers 37
Thus far, we haven’t gotten much from the Falcons to give us much of any optimism that they’ll prevail in this matchup. So essentially, it becomes a “moral” victory if they can keep this game competitive. The Bucs have scored 30 or more points in eight straight games going back to their Week 15 win over the Falcons last year. I don’t see why this Falcon team is going to stop the streak. So the real question is how many points are the Falcons going to put up. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking on my part that they might get some late-game scores to make this game look closer than what it will be. - Aaron Freeman
Falcons 23 - Buccaneers 41
I really didn’t like this matchup coming into the season. Things did not get better upon watching Tom Brady on opening night. My outlook got even worse after watching the Falcons look completely flat against the Eagles in week one. Facing the defending Super Bowl champion at any point of the season will always be tough. But when you have yet to establish an identity on both sides of the ball, this is one team you are not in the right space to tussle with. In order for the Falcons to make this a four quarter game, big plays will be needed from all three phases. If not, this could be a loooonnggg afternoon. - Eric Robinson