Brady, Bucs hoping to bolster playoff hopes against Falcons

·3 min read

TAMPA BAY (8-5) at ATLANTA (4-9)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Buccaneers by 3 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Buccaneers 7-6, Falcons 5-8

SERIES RECORD - Falcons lead 28-25

LAST MEETING - Falcons beat Buccaneers 28-22, OT, Dec. 29, 2019 at Tampa

LAST WEEK - Buccaneers beat Vikings 26-14; Falcons lost at Chargers 20-17

AP PRO32 RANKING - Buccaneers No. 12, Falcons No. 27

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (17), RUSH (26), PASS (11).

BUCCANEERS Defence - OVERALL (7), RUSH (1), PASS (21).

FALCONS OFFENSE - OVERALL (15), RUSH (25), PASS (6).

FALCONS Defence - OVERALL (28), RUSH (10), PASS (30).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Atlanta has won six of the last seven in the series. ... The Buccaneers snapped a two-game losing streak last week, bolstering their playoff hopes with the victory over Minnesota. They currently hold the sixth seed in the NFC race. Tampa Bay earned its last post-season berth in 2007. It is trying to snap a 13-year playoff drought that’s the second-longest string in the NFL behind Cleveland. It needs a victory and a tie between Minnesota and Chicago. ... Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is 6-0 and has thrown for 1,908 yards and 13 touchdowns with only two interceptions in six career starts against the Falcons, all with New England. That includes a 466-yard passing performance in the Super Bowl four seasons ago. ... Bucs running back Ronald Jones is fourth in the league in rushing with 900 yards and could become Tampa Bay’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Doug Martin in 2015. His status this week is uncertain after he fractured a pinkie against the Vikings and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. ... WR Mike Evans has 60 catches for 906 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 career games against the Falcons. ... Bucs linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul have combined for five sacks over the past two games. ... The Falcons are locked into their third consecutive losing season following back-to-back 7-9 finishes. ... WR Calvin Ridley had eight catches for 124 yards and a touchdown last week. His six 100-yard games are tied for the NFL lead. ... Younghoe Koo has made 25 consecutive field goals. His 33 field goals lead the NFL. Matt Bryant set the Falcons' record with 34 field goals in 2016 and 2017. ... QB Matt Ryan threw three interceptions last week, clouding a milestone game. He has 54,846 yards passing, moving past Peyton Manning (54,828) for the most yards in the first 13 seasons in NFL history. ... Ryan needs to throw for 340 yards to join Drew Brees as the only QBs to throw for 4,000 yards in 10 consecutive seasons. ... Ryan has 18 TD passes and only four interceptions in 12 career home starts against the Buccaneers. ... Atlanta was successful on 9 of 12 third-down plays last week. The 75% success rate was the Falcons' best since Week 3 of the 2019 season. For the season, the Falcons have converted 43.3 % (78 of 180) third downs. ... Fantasy tip: The Falcons have improved slightly in defending the pass but still rank only 30th, making Tampa Bay WR Chris Godwin a good player to start. Godwin has 19 receptions for 354 yards and five TDs in his past three games between the NFC South rivals. He is aiming for his third consecutive game against Atlanta with at least 100 yards and two scoring catches.

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