Tampa Bay comes off their bye week with Jameis Winston at the helm in an important division matchup with the reeling Atlanta Falcons.
It might have been the Buccaneers’ plan all along to have Winston wait until after their early bye week to take control of the offense, but the Bears’ brutal extinction of the team’s “Fitzmagic” in Week 4 made the decision easier.
With most of his receiving weapons on the field, Winston should find things comfortable enough in his 2018 starting debut. Better contributions from the running game will help. It is expected that rookie Ronald Jones will get a chance to take the lead rusher role from a struggling Peyton Barber.
Injuries have created problems for the Falcons’ defense but eventually, that excuse runs thin. Four starters have gone down since opening day, but with the offense providing over 30 points three times, the Falcons had to expect more than one victory to date.
If there wasn’t enough concern already, last week’s all-around manhandling at the hands of the Steelers should be setting alarm bells off in Atlanta. Did the Falcons hit bottom? More importantly, did they fall flat or will they bounce back from their early-seasonadversity?
Injuries and roster moves
OJ Howard is expected to miss Week 6, although he is only listed as questionable. Cameron Brate is more than capable of handling the tight end duties, but the two of them on the field together opened some big plays for the Ryan Fitzpatrick-version of the Buccaneers offense.
Quarterback Matt Ryan was a surprise addition to the post-game injury list, reportedly requiring x-rays to rule out a foot fracture. The team says he is expected to play Sunday.
Several defenders are listed as questionable for Week 6, but none are expected to miss the Buccaneers’ game.
Dan Quinn entered his fourth season at the helm of the Falcons with hopes to become the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl at their home stadium. He has a tall task in front of him to see that come to fruition.
To his credit, there is little rumbling or signs of discontent from the Falcons’ locker room. Quinn has them focused on the task at hand, which is to come together in time to turn things around.
Many people thought Dirk Koetter wouldn’t survive last season’s disappointing results, but he was given the opportunity to prove injuries were more to blame than his coaching decisions.
He already has Tampa Bay ahead of many expectations. A brutal opening schedule with a backup quarterback said 0-3 all over it. But the momentum of a 2-0 start has faded. Can he relight the fire after the bye week?
How to watch the Falcons-Buccaneers game
Fox Sports will broadcast Sunday’s game in the early slots to both home markets. But if you’re like many Falcons and Buccaneers fans who have done away with expensive cable and satellite television contracts, you can watch the live stream NFL game between these clubs on Sling TV.
Sling TV offers live stream NFL action on Fox and other contracted networks in the Atlanta and Tampa Bay markets, as well as much of the United States. Take advantage of their free trial to watch the game for nothing or sign up for a monthly subscription and watch live stream NFL action all season.
Fubo TV and DirecTV Now also provide live stream NFL games like this one in markets across the nation. Check their websites to see what they offer in your area.
Who will win the Falcons-Buccaneers game?
Atlanta gets the 3.5-point nod from the oddsmakers at home in a must-win scenario. Dan Quinn’s troops have to get their defensive swag back or Jameis Winston could lead another 40-point explosion in front of their home fans.
Winston looked game-ready covering the second half of Week 4. With a bye week to get further re-acquainted with his offensive teammates, Atlanta should not expect a slow start.
It all points to another high-scoring NFC South contest, which often go to the more desperate team. That’s what happens this week. Final score: Falcons 31, Buccaneers 27