Hagen’s Week 6 Preview – Bucs @ Falcons


After a much-needed bye week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are traveling to Atlanta to play the Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Falcons are coming off a tough 41-17 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers and now have lost four games out of the first five contests. Another loss to the Bucs would almost take away the Falcons‘ hopes for a postseason. Consequently, Atlanta will play with a chip on its shoulder and will be highly motivated at home against a division rival.

Matt Ryan is one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. This season he has already passed for a total of 1,601 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has only thrown two interceptions so far. Putting pressure on Ryan will be crucial for the Bucs to have a chance at a win in Atlanta, especially with Tampa Bay’s secondary being more than suspect once again.

To make matters worse for the Bucs, Atlanta just got Devonta Freeman back against the Steelers, its starting running back, who will make for a dangerous one-two punch in combination with Tevin Coleman.

In addition to the running backs, the Falcons also have star wide receiver Julio Jones, who has struggled so far this year. But he usually shines against the Bucs. Expect him to have a breakout game against the worst pass defense in the NFL at the moment.

Against Pittsburgh, the Falcons were not able to create any kind of pass rush, going sackless in the game and only hitting Roethlisberger four times. Hopefully the pass rush will struggle against the Bucs as well, which should give Winston enough time to make plays down field.

It will certainly be interesting to see Winston back for the first time as a starter since his three-game suspension. In what should be a high-scoring game, the Falcons will do everything to keep their season alive. Winston and the Bucs have other plans. However, the defense does not have enough answers to Matt Ryan’s high-octane offense. Ultimately the Bucs won’t find a way to win this very important divisional game.

Final score: 31-28 Falcons.