Monday, May 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs at Falcons: Scouting report

This is a tricky game to project given the Falcons' noncommittal stance on playing their regulars for the duration. Atlanta has clinched the NFC's top playoff seed, so there is little to gain here beyond more confidence heading into the postseason. The Bucs have lost five straight and need a win badly.

Falcons' top offensive player

Matt Ryan, right, has put on a show this season, throwing 31 touchdowns (one off the franchise record) and entering today with the highest rating of his career (100.2). Ryan has thrown multiple touchdowns in 10 games this season.

Falcons' top defensive player

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, left, has become the defensive leader and, in his third season, has 14 tackles-for-loss.

What the Falcons do best

The passing game has been in full throttle all season. Roddy White (1,309) and Julio Jones (1,142) are ninth and 11th, respectively, in the league in receiving yards, and tight end Tony Gonzalez is eighth in catches with 88.

How you beat the Falcons

In both of their losses (31-27 at New Orleans and 30-20 at Carolina), the Falcons gave up 30 or more points. It suggests it takes a shootout to beat them because their offense has been consistent. Their 402 points (26.8 per game) are fifth in the league.

The Bucs must avoid …

An early deficit at the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons are one of the best home teams in the NFL.

Projected starters

BUCS

OFFENSE

WR: Vincent Jackson

LT: Donald Penn

LG: Jeremy Zuttah

C: Ted Larsen

RG: Jamon Meredith

RT: Demar Dotson

TE: Dallas Clark

WR: Mike Williams

QB: Josh Freeman

RB: Doug Martin

FB: Erik Lorig

DEFENSE

LDE: Michael Bennett

DT: Gerald McCoy

DT: Roy Miller

RDE: Daniel Te'o-Nesheim

SLB: Adam Hayward

MLB: Mason Foster

WLB: Lavonte David

CB: E.J. Biggers

CB: Leonard Johnson

SS: Mark Barron

FS: Ronde Barber

special teams

PR: Roscoe Parrish

KR: Tiquan Underwood

PK: Connor Barth

P/KO: Michael Koenen

Falcons

OFFENSE

WR: Julio Jones

LT: Sam Baker

LG: Justin Blalock

C: Robert McClure

RG: Peter Konz

RT: Tyson Clabo

TE: Tony Gonzalez

WR: Roddy White

QB: Matt Ryan

RB: Michael Turner

WR: Hugh Douglas

DEFENSE

LDE: John Abraham

DT: Corey Peters

DT: Jonathan Babineaux

RDE: Peria Jerry

OLB: Mike Peterson

MLB: Sean Weatherspoon

OLB: Stephen Nicholas

CB: Dunta Robinson

CB: Asante Samuel

SS: Chris Hope

FS: Thomas DeCoud

special teams

PR: Dominique Franks

KR: Jacquizz Rodgers

PK/KO: Matt Bryant

P: Matt Bosher

Stat pack



1 p.m., Georgia Dome, Atlanta | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FMInjury report

BUCS Doubtful: G Roger Allen (groin). Probable: CB E.J. Biggers (hip), DE Da'Quan Bowers (hamstring), TE Nate Byham (illness), TE Dallas Clark (illness), CB LeQuan Lewis (knee), T Donald Penn (not injury related), G Jeremy Zuttah (ankle).

FALCONS Out: S William Moore (hamstring), CB Christopher Owens (hamstring). Questionable: DT Jonathan Babineaux (ribs), DE Cliff Matthews (hamstring), DT Corey Peters (knee), WR Roddy White (knee)

Prediction

Falcons 26, Bucs 23

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