Is Atlanta for real? This is one of those big, borderline meaningless questions that’s still interesting to think about. The improvement for this team has been somewhere between noticeable (on defense) and drastic (on offense, particularly on the ground), and they’ve been in each of their four games until the end. It seems like they might be pretty good, which is an exciting thought.
Now we’ll get to see what they look like against their toughest opponent yet minus a couple of key playmakers, as Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson are out and the Buccaneers bring a rough-and-ready defense to the table. If the Falcons are for real—a real NFC contender a year ahead of schedule, a team capable of attacking the weaknesses of even very good defenses, an opportunistic D—then we’ll find out soon enough.
A loss here won’t dampen my enthusiasm for the season—this is a good opponent—but a win here would ratchet up my expectations considerably. Here’s what you’ll need to know to watch it with me.
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 5
When: Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Channel: FOX 5 locally; NFL Sunday Ticket nationally
Announcers: Joe Davis, Daryl Johnston, & Pam Oliver
Radio: 92.9 The Game; Dave Archer and Wes Durham announcing
Streaming: Atlanta Falcons official app locally
Odds: Atlanta’s a 9.5-point underdog, so the expectation seems to be that this will be a bloodbath. Let’s hope not.
Key Questions: Can Atlanta get it going on the ground minus Cordarrelle Patterson and with an intimidating Tampa Bay front to work against? Will the Falcons be able to right the ship for a passing game that was a liability a week ago, potentially without Kyle Pitts? Will an injury-wracked Buccaneers offense get on track against an up-and-down Falcons defense? Can Atlanta come out of Sunday leading the NFC South?
2022 Falcons regular season schedule (2-2)
- Week 1: Loss vs. New Orleans Saints, Sunday, September 11, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 2: Loss @ Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, September 18, 4:05 p.m. ET
- Week 3: Win @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, September 25, 4:25 p.m. ET
- Week 4: Win vs. Cleveland Browns, Sunday, October 2, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 5: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, October 10, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 6: vs. San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, October 16, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 7: @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, October 23, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 8: vs. Carolina Panthers, Sunday, October 30, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 9: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, November 6, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 10: @ Carolina Panthers, Thursday Night Football, November 10, 8:15 p.m. ET
- Week 11: vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, November 20, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 12: @ Washington Commanders, Sunday, November 27, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 13: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, December 4, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 14: BYE WEEK
- Week 15: @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday, December 18, TBD
- Week 16: @ Baltimore Ravens, Saturday, December 24, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 17: vs. Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, January 1, 1 p.m. ET
- Week 18: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, TBD