The Atlanta Falcons are headed to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers just one week after failing to score a touchdown in a 32-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Things certainly aren’t getting easier as they head to face Tom Brady, the quarterback that came back from the infamous 28-3 just a few seasons ago in the Super Bowl against Matt Ryan
Things have changed drastically for both Brady and the Falcons since that Super Bowl as Brady is on a new team and the Falcons are not close to being a Super Bowl contender. The Buccaneers are the clear favorites in this game, but can Atlanta shock everyone and take down Brady and the Buccaneers?
Here are 4 bold predictions for the Falcons in Week 2.
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Falcons Week 2 Predictions
4. Matt Ryan throws for over 300 yards
Even while playing from behind by a ton last week, Matt Ryan could never get anything going in the air. He seems to be at the end of his best days, trying to do whatever he can to help the Falcons reach the playoffs one last time. The talent is still there and the team knows this as they drafted him the best tight end prospect in Kyle Pitts. Along with Pitts the Falcons still have Calvin Ridley, a top ten wide receiver in the league and Russell Gage. Ridley and Pitts are a great duo and Gage is a nice second receiver.
Expect the Falcons to be down once again for most of the game and for Matt Ryan to have to throw the ball a lot. These 300 yards might not mean he’s having a great day, they could just be a product of how the game flows. Ryan threw for just 164 yards in Week 1 but expect that to flip here even if the final score is similar.
Ryan threw for 300+ yards only five times last season after doing it 11 times in 2019. This Buccaneers’ defense is among the best in the league but Matt Ryan will step up in this game. The Falcons probably won’t win but letting the first two games of the season get completely out of hand shouldn’t happen. Matt Ryan will do all he can to keep the Falcons relatively close in this game.
3. Mike Davis will have a rough game
Davis carried the ball 15 times for just 49 yards in Week 1 and that production came largely in the first half before the game got out of hand. Once the Eagles were a few scores away the usage for Davis really dropped off and that was against an Eagles defense much worse against the run than the Buccaneers. Davis will likely get 10-15 carries once again but don’t expect him to go over 50 yards at all. This is a matchup that extremely favors the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay was ranked as the number one rushing defense last season using DVOA and that showed up again in their Week 1 matchup against the Cowboys. In the opener against Dallas, it was the much anticipated return of Ezekiel Elliott yet, Tampa Bay completely held him in check. Elliott carried the ball just 11 total times for 33 yards. There was no running room when Elliott did get the ball so ultimately the Cowboys just didn’t let him do much.
Expect Davis to be kept in check. The Falcons want to utilize him in the running game but if it’s not working they won’t force it as we saw last week. The 15 carries for Davis was surprisingly high for how the game went. If Tampa Bay is at the top of their game then expect a repeat of the Ezekiel Elliott performance from Mike Davis.
2. The Falcons defense gives up 40 points
Giving up 40 points is rare, but it seems like the likely scenario for the Falcons matchup with Tom Brady and this Buccaneers offense.
With Brady leading a group of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski against this secondary, things could get ugly real fast. Not to mention the running back duo of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II that isn’t among the best but can always have a good game especially against a defense like the one in Atlanta.
These two teams meet up twice every season while being in the same division and Tampa Bay won both contests a year ago.
In the first matchup, the Buccaneers won 31-27 and took the second matchup 44-27. Atlanta approached 30 points both times but it didn’t matter as Tampa Bay was able to take both games because of their offense. Tampa Bay seems to have gotten better while Atlanta is falling down in the other direction this season.
The Week 1 matchups for these teams could also show what’s to come. The Falcons gave up 32 points to Jalen Hurts and the Eagles while the Buccaneers scored 31 against the Cowboys. It seems like a guarantee that Tampa scores at least 30 points so it’ll be about making the push to 40 for this prediction to come true. Getting 40 points is never easy but if I had to bet on one matchup for it to happen, it would be this one.
1. The Falcons cover the spread
If the first three predictions all come true then it would typically be hard for the Falcons to cover spread, but there’s a wide margin between these two teams. Tampa Bay is favored by 12.5 points against Atlanta. Using Week 1 as an indicator, this makes sense but a spread of that much in an NFL game is rare. The Falcons aren’t nearly as good as the Buccaneers but Matt Ryan is always ready for a hopeless shootout and that could be exactly what this matchup turns into.
So far the predictions are Matt Ryan going for 300+, Mike Davis having a disappointing day, and the Buccaneers scoring 40+ points. All that can definitely happen plus the Falcons staying within the spread of 12.5 points. Atlanta scored 27 against this defense twice last season so all that has to happen is Tampa Bay winning with a score of 42-31 or something like that. Everyone knows who the better team is but Atlanta isn’t as bad as they showed in Week 1. They aren’t great, but they also aren’t going to fail to score a touchdown again.