Keys to the Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons

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I can’t believe the 2020 season is coming to a close on Sunday. After 13 long years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finally play in a playoff game. Unfortunately, we have some bad news as Shaquil Barrett, Devin White, and Steve McLendon will be out this week after being added to the Reserve/Covid-19 list.

It will be all hands on deck to secure the number five seed, and here is how the Buccaneers can do it.

Feed Mike Evans Early

Mike Evans only needs 40 yards to pass Randy Moss’s record of seven straight 1,000 yard seasons. And you best believe the Falcons know it.

Bruce Arians has publicly stated that they will do everything they can to get Evans the record. That could provide some risk for an offense that has struggled out of the gate (besides the Lions of course).

The Buccaneers need to get this record out of the way early so that they can play more balanced. If it lingers into the fourth quarter, it could spell disaster if Tom Brady forces the ball late.

In terms of a general game plan, watch the Detroit Lions tape 10 times over. Byron Leftwich used play-action early, and it was effective. You don’t need to establish the run, and it seems the offense is finally understanding this sentiment.

Commit to the Blitz Early

Tampa Bay will be without many of their key defensive players, and I’ll tell you right now, this unit will get shredded if Todd Bowles opts to sit in zone.

We all remember what the Falcons did two weeks ago, scoring 17 easy points with 300 passing yards in one half.

No Barrett and White means the Buccaneers will need to be creative to get pressure. That’s a ton of pressure on Jason Pierre-Paul.

I’m fairly confident Kevin Minter can make an impact, as he’s proved so early in 2019.

I hope Bowles will cause havoc in the backfield with exotic blitzes, but I’m not sure he will, saving most of his plays for the post-season.

The Buccaneers can still secure the five seed with a loss, but it will take a Cardinals win against the Rams to get it done.

A win on Sunday would propel the Buccaneers to an 11-5 record, something they haven’t done since 2005.

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