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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons Predictions, Odds, Picks and NFL Week 1 Betting Preview – September 11, 2016

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons Predictions, Odds, Picks and NFL Week 1 Betting Preview – September 11, 2016

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview

Where: Georgia Dome – Atlanta, Georgia

When: Sunday, September 11, 1:00 PM ET

Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) at Atlanta Falcons (-3); total 47.5view all NFL lines

TV Broadcast: FOX

Writer’s Pick: Atlanta Falcons (-3)

NFL News and Previews

Betting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3)

A promising 2015 season ended somewhat disappointingly as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped their last four games to finish 6-10. However, their last win came against the Atlanta Falcons, which completed the Bucs’ first season sweep of their NFC South rivals since 2007.

Tampa Bay is currently priced at +550 to win the division this season, ahead of both the Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, who are at +600.


The Bucs’ strong running game gashed the Falcons to the tune of 166 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 23-19 home win. They didn’t play quite as well in Atlanta as they were outgained by over 200 yards, but they managed to hang on for a 23-20 overtime win.

Jameis Winston had a pretty decent rookie season. The No. 1 pick in 2015 completed just 58 percent of his passes, but still threw for 4,042 yards – the youngest NFL QB ever to reach that mark – with 22 touchdowns. Look for him to take a step forward in his sophomore year.

He still won’t have a great offensive line, which could get worse with J.R. Sweezy taking the retired Logan Mankins’ starting spot at guard. But the Falcons’ pass rush is one of the most anemic in the entire league, so don’t expect Winston to be under too much pressure.

The defense was very good against the run last season – it ranked No. 9 per DVOA – but struggled against the pass. The additions of Robert Ayers, Brent Grimes, and first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves should help improve that pass defense a bit in this matchup, though.

Betting on the Atlanta Falcons (-3)

Last season was a weird one for the Falcons. After a red-hot 5-0 start, they proceeded to go just 3-8 in their final 11 games. The defense, particularly the pass rush, continued to struggle, while Matt Ryan and the offense made a bunch of ill-timed errors.

The Falcons’ home loss to the Bucs was a prime example of the offense’s miscues as they committed four turnovers. But even as they went minus-4 in the turnover battle, they still managed to fight back and force overtime. The Falcons passing game lit up the Bucs secondary for 397 yards, with Julio Jones exploding for 162 yards on 12 catches. As long as Jones is on the field, the Falcons will be dangerous through the air.

Despite Devonta Freeman’s breakout year, the Falcons weren’t a particularly efficient rushing team. However, the addition of center Alex Mack and improvement from second-year back Tevin Coleman should give Atlanta some much-needed balance to the offense.

The defense remains a significant issue, with Vic Beasley expected to shoulder a heavy load in the pass rush. But they do have an elite No. 1 corner in Desmond Trufant, who was able to keep Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans fairly quiet over their two meetings last season.

The Falcons haven’t lost back-to-back home games to the Bucs since 2002-03.

Writer’s Prediction

The Falcons (-3) avoid back-to-back home losses to the Bucs as they win, 27-24.

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Written by Brad

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