NFL Preview – Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Preview – Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Preview – Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Swiftly moving on to the first full week of NFL in December 2015 and it’s now week 13 of the regular season. This season is flying by, but despite that, this final quarter of the season begs more questions to be answered about who will be in the playoffs more than recent seasons than I can remember. With playoff implications on the line, these final five weeks will be fantastic. We first take a look at a NFC South battle between two teams vying for an NFC Wild Card spot. The Atlanta Falcons travel to Florida to take on Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite struggling to cover the spread for several weeks, the Atlanta Falcons seem like they got back on track last week. We think they will pick up where they left off and cover the -1.5 spread at odds of 49/50 with 888sport. You can Treble the Odds on your first £10 bet by signing up here or clicking the banner below!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been used to a miserable string of seasons in the 21st century of the NFL and that was especially the case last season as the Bucs managed only 2 wins from 14 games and earned the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft. They used this pick well, taking Jameis Winston from Florida State, expecting to inject him into this line-up right away and become a leader for the future. This proved to make an immediate impact as Winston has led the team to a 5-6 record with a third place spot in the NFC South. They can overtake the their opposition today in the division with a win, still vying for a Wild Card spot. They will be looking to rebound after their disappointing 25 – 12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in week 12.

Jameis Winston is playing with the confidence you wouldn’t quite expect from a rookie Quarterback which just reiterates how good he is. Winston is completing 58% of his passes for 2,65o yards. He’s also added sixteen touchdowns and ten interceptions. Doug Martin, a Half Back who was touted for greatness, however never really lived up to his potential, has finally hit his stride this season. Martin has rushed for 1,038 yards this season, crossing over for three touchdowns. Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson have proved to be Winston’s most valuable targets. The duo have combined for over 1,200 yards and five touchdowns. The Buccaneers defence are allowing on average 25.4 points per game and 338.8 yards per game.

The Atlanta Falcons have been an outfit in these previous seasons that have looked like a team that could visit the Super Bowl, however the NFC South hasn’t been particularly kind to them as usually the Panthers get the nod in the playoffs just ahead of the Falcons. It looked like that could’ve changed this season as they matched the Panthers on their 5-0 start. That changed when they lost in unexpected fashion to their bitter rivals, the New Orleans Saints. Since that loss, they’ve gone 1-4 and have really spiralled into freefall. That being said, despite the 20 – 10 loss last week, there were shades of renovation and with Devonta Freeman returning this week, they might be a dangerous team again.

Despite the slump they are in, Matt Ryan’s stats still display some extremely good Quarterback play. Matty Ice has completed 65.9% of his passes this season for 3,212 yards. He’s throw sixteen touchdowns and twelve interceptions. Devonta Freeman returns to the lineup healthy today after missing last week’s game against the Vikings. Freeman has been banged up for more than a month however has been cleared to play now. The rookie has been running with great intent this season, adding 764 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Julio Jones has been an incredible weapon for Matt Ryan this season, catching 1,245 yards of passes and six touchdown catches. Roddy White has also added over 300 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Facons are allowing on average 21.3 points per game and 338.4 yards per game.

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This is usually a division tilt which is seperated by a cigarette paper and that rings true tonight. The Atlanta Falcons are favoured in this tilt by a point and a half which is likely because of their extra win. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 4-1 against the spread versus NFC team this season, 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games overall and 5-1 against the spread when taking on teams following a loss. The Falcons are 1-4 against the spread versus NFC South teams, 0-5 against the spread versus a team with a losing record and 0-7 against the spread overall in their last seven fixtures.

One thing that you can always guarentee you’ll see in NFC South games is a highly competitive game seperated by a very, VERY small margin. That was proven earlier this year when the Panthers narrowly beat the Saints. I think this game boasts that as the two of them are both well in contention for playoff position. With that been said, you can’t ignore just how terrible the Falcons have been, going 1-5 in their last six games and not covering the spread for their previous seven games. This team simply isn’t playing with confidence at the moment which is the polar opposite to Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers who are without any pressure on their shoulders and are playing well. I’m going to grab the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the points in this tilt. Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover the +1.5 spread.

Dan Glozier.

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