It’s GAME DAY at Glory Days Grill – Come watch football all season long!
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Bucs game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions. Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.
BUCCANEERS vs. FALCONS
WHEN: Sunday, September 19, 2021 | WHERE: Raymond James Stadium | KICKOFF: 4:05 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Kevin Burkhardt |ANALYST: Greg Olsen | SIDELINE: Pam Oliver
RADIO: 98 ROCK 97.9 FM | PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff | ANALYST: Dave Moore | SIDELINE: T.J. Rives
SPANISH RADIO: 96.1 FM | PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez | ANALYST: Martin Gramatica
Join Pewter Report’s Matt Matera on PewterReport.com’s Red Board to talk Bucs football for a
live game day chat, starting at noon. on Sunday all the way through to the final whistle.
Click the link below to access the Game Day Thread on the Red Board.
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Scott Reynolds: Bucs Move To 2-0 With Big Win Over The Falcons
The Buccaneers were supposed to have a big win last week against the Cowboys. Sorry, that big win was delayed, but will be arriving in Tampa this Sunday about 10 days late. Tampa Bay could have beaten Dallas, 38-20, if not for four ill-timed turnovers and 100 yards in penalties. Instead, it was a closer-than-expected, 31-29 victory. Meanwhile Atlanta got crushed at home by Philadelphia, 32-6. I expect the Falcons will be better in their second game under Arthur Smith, but I also expect the Bucs to be better in their second game, too.
Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh and OLB Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Yet, Tampa Bay is a better and more talented team and that will show on Sunday. The Bucs came back to beat the Falcons, 31-27, at Atlanta last year after falling behind 17-0. Tampa Bay played down its level of competition in that game, but the rematch two weeks later was a 44-27 blowout that was more indicative of the talent discrepancy. I’m predicting an 18-point win over the Falcons for that reason.
Arthur Smith’s Falcons offense wants to run the ball and Todd Bowles’ defense is the best in the league at stopping it. Atlanta will struggle to score points because it’s no longer a quick-strike passing attack. Tampa Bay can pile up a bunch of points in a hurry. The only way the Falcons have a chance of winning this game is to create takeways on defense and keep the game close into the fourth quarter. That’s the only way the Cowboys stuck around. The Bucs know if they get a big lead they can cruise to an easy win. Look for that to happen in the first half.
Outside of the Bucs beating the Bucs, Atlanta’s best shot at a victory is for the Bucs to start slow. It’s been an issue for the Bucs offense for awhile now, and it could keep Atlanta in position to run their ball control offense. The Falcons want to run the football and dominate possession, but that’s easier said than done with an offensive line like theirs.
This game should not be close. Assuming Carlton Davis is good to go for Sunday, the Bucs will have their answer for Calvin Ridley. The Falcons play-action passing game will test Tampa Bay, but the Bucs defensive line should eat. Vita Vea has extremely favorable matchups up front, and Shaq Barrett faces one of the league’s worst right tackles in Kaleb McGary. The Bucs need to dominate in the trenches on offense and on defense.
Even if the Bucs defense struggles with a few things, the Tampa Bay offense should roll. The Falcons have a significant lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and Tom Brady should have his way in the passing game. Given how Philadelphia ran the ball, the Bucs might even find some rare success on the ground. The Bucs need to be 2-0 after Week 2, and it shouldn’t be close.
Matt Matera: Bucs Pull Away In A Contested Divisional Match-Up
The Bucs come into this game as heavy favorites – partially because they have a loaded roster and are defending champions, and partially because the Falcons got whooped 32-6 at home in Week 1. This one shouldn’t be taken lightly, though, as divisional games tend to bring out the best from both sides, even for a team that’s struggled.
I’m curious to see how the first quarter unfolds for the Bucs. While they had many explosive plays in the home opener, they did go three-and-out on their opening drive. It’ll be very important that the Bucs come out of the gates firing or they might fight themselves in a close contest. We can expect the Bucs to run the ball more after a league low 14 attempts in Week 1. Ronald Jones will look to bounce back after getting benched in the second half.
Ultimately, this game is about how the defense looks for Week 2. There are questions in the secondary with Ross Cockrell playing the nickel corner, but they do get Jordan Whitehead back at safety. The pass rush will have a great opportunity to rack up the sacks on quarterback Matt Ryan, who is not mobile. I expect another big game from Vita Vea to set the tone, and if he dominates, so will the Bucs’ defense. Tampa Bay has too much talent for Atlanta to keep up for four quarters, so the Bucs will pull ahead regardless, but they can close the game out early if they push the pace.
JC Allen: Sack City, Bucs defense gets after Matt Ryan. Offense Keeps Rolling
The Falcons offensive line performed atrociously against the Eagles in their 32-6 Week 1 loss. I expect more of the same. While the Falcons ran the ball well, the Bucs top ranked run defense should hold them in check this week. If the Falcons are to have a chance to win this game, they’re going to have to do it through the air, playing right into the Bucs hands.
Shaq Barrett was the only player to record a sack in Week 1 despite a ton of pressure on Dak Prescott. That should change this week, as the Falcons offensive line was one of the worst in pass protection last week. I expect multiple defenders to get to Matt Ryan this week, including rookie Joe Tryon- Shoyinka recording his first career sack. Even without corner Sean Murphy-Bunting in the line up, the Bucs defense should be able to have their way with this limited Falcons offense.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bucs should continue to roll. Tom Brady and the wide receivers should eat against this Falcons secondary. Last season the team had two receivers eclipse the 100-yard mark in both games against the Falcons. Establishing the run should be a priority for the Bucs, and an early lead will help them do just that. Unlike last week, the Bucs should score early and often in a convincing win against a divisional opponent.
Paul Atwal: Bucs Dominate Falcons with Personnel and Schematic Mismatches
The Falcons were embarrassed in their 32-6 Week 1 loss against the Eagles. Their offense was dominated up front, and their defense was carved up underneath. If that’s how poorly things went against the Eagles, who aren’t exactly bonafide Super Bowl contenders, then how in the world are the Falcons supposed to challenge the defending champs?
To further complicate matters for Atlanta, their offensive goals align terribly (or very well, for Bucs fans) with the Buccaneers’ defensive strengths. The Falcons play a ton of heavier personnel packages. In Week 1, Atlanta had two or fewer receivers on the field for 72% of their offensive snaps – they preferred playing a mix of multiple running backs and/or tight ends. Compare this with Dallas, who had two or fewer receivers on the field for only 37% of their offensive snaps against Tampa Bay. Even 37% is high by the Cowboys’ standards. This is important because the teams who give the Bucs the most trouble are the ones who can challenge the Bucs’ depth at cornerback. Moreover, Arthur Smith’s offense begins with the ground attack. I don’t need to explain why this is troublesome for the Falcons.
Defensively, Falcons’ defensive coordinator Dean Pees is usually thought of as an aggressive, blitz-heavy, play-caller. That didn’t work too well last week. According to Sports Info Solutions, Pees dialed up blitzes on 10 the Eagles’ dropbacks. On those plays, Jaylen Hurts sliced the defense with short, quick strikes and racked up 103 yards with two touchdowns. I can’t imagine the Falcons doing better against Tom Brady, who, despite all the miscommunication, ranked 4th against the blitz in 2020. I expect the Bucs to do be successful doing whatever they feel like on offense.
Kasey Hudson: Bucs Offense Puts On A Show and Mike Evans Leads The Way
The highly anticipated Week 1 win has come and gone, now we are off to Week 2. Both the Falcons and the Buccaneers have corrections to make heading into Sunday’s matchup. The Falcons are coming off a tough 32-6 loss versus the Eagles. Matt Ryan threw for 164 yards and could not connect in the red zone. In addition to a futile offense, Falcons top receiver Calvin Ridley barely broke 51 receiving yards, and their Round 1 draft pick, Kyle Pitts, did not have the promising NFL debut Falcons fans were hoping for.
Furthermore, the Falcons offensive line struggled against a team with a less intimidating interior defensive linemen group than Tampa Bay’s. Rookie left guard Jalen Mayfield has been moved all over the line since joining the team, making it hard to lock in his skill set. Matt Hennessy and Kaleb McGary had underwhelming performances in Week 1, forcing the Falcons to call up reinforcements by signing offensive linemen Danny Isidora and Bryan Witzmann.
So if the Eagles were able to contain the Falcons, the Buccaneers should be able to do the same. Even with the loss of Sean Murphy-Bunting, this team showed last season that they are capable of executing the “next man up mentality” quite well. Andrew Adams had a couple key plays against the Cowboys that kept the Buccaneers in the game and will remain on the roster, so it is safe to expect more out of him Week 2. A hopeful sign is safety Jordan Whitehead returning after being out with a hamstring injury.
As for the Buccaneers offense, there is opportunity for Tom Brady to go to work. It would not be surprising if Mike Evans has the game fans were hoping for in Week 1. The Falcons will try to overcome their Week 1 struggles, but the Bucs are the stronger team heading into Sunday.