The Atlanta Falcons are reeling following three straight losses including a 41-17 blowout at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers in their last outing. Now they return home trying to salvage their season in another must-win contest against a division rival. Tampa Bay followed up consecutive wins with back-to-back losses before their bye last week. Mathematically, the Buccaneers have a better chance to challenge for a playoff spot than Atlanta right now. However, that will change if it’s the Falcons that find a way to win in Week 6.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Buccaneers are 2-2 straight up and 2-2 against the spread heading in to Week 6. Tampa Bay held its first two opponents to an average of 30.5 points in back-to-back wins but then allowed its next two opponents to average 39.0 points per game in consecutive losses. The over has hit in each of the Buccaneers’ last five games dating back to last season.
The total has gone over in four of Atlanta’s last five games with the onus for that largely on their defence. The Falcons have allowed an average of 32.6 points per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL this season. Atlanta is just 1-3 against the spread this season, which is the second-worst mark in the league behind only the Denver Broncos.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It has been a rollercoaster start to the season in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers opened the year with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the way in back-to-back upset wins over the New Orleans Saints and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Fast-forward a couple of weeks and Tampa Bay is coming off back-to-back losses to the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons with Jameis Winston set to start at quarterback. Winston has looked shaky at best in place of Fitzpatrick, although we only saw him for a half and that was after the Bucs were getting blown out.
The Tampa Bay defence has done absolutely nothing to inspire confidence. Tampa Bay is 31st in overall defence and that’s despite having the NFL’s third-ranked run defence. They should be able to score a good number of points this Sunday but the question is whether or not they can slow down the Falcons. As long as Winston moves the ball effectively and avoids turnovers, the Buccaneers should have a good shot to win this game outright.
The Falcons have been devastated by injuries and inconsistent play from their star players. Matt Ryan has completed 68.3-percent of his pass attempts for 1,601 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. However, that strong stat line doesn’t come close to telling the story of how inconsistent the Atlanta offence has been. The Falcons managed just 17 points in what was essentially a must-win game in Pittsburgh last week. They need to find more balance as they had just 62 rushing yards last week. If they are putting the entire game on the pass offence, they become too predictable and are easier to stop.
It certainly doesn’t help that the Atlanta defence hasn’t been able to slow down its opponents. The Falcons have allowed 37 points or more in each of their last three losses. This is who they are now due to the defensive injuries. They have to find a way to outscore opponents each and every week or they are going to lose.