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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons

Bored with watching NFL video games with your folks and listening to them regurgitate scorching takes like they’re Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless? Craving chilly, laborious info? You’ve discovered the nook of the web you’ve been trying to find. We’re right here to set you up for the primary Buccaneers-Falcons recreation of the season.
On this scouting report of the Falcons, we’ll debunk a preferred declare, reply a few regularly requested questions, break down some recreation movie, study a key matchup and supply a (predictable) prediction for Sunday’s 1 p.m. recreation.

Declare: The Falcons are rising from their Tremendous Bowl hangover.

It is a lazy take. The Falcons usually are not rising from a Tremendous Bowl hangover. That’s as a result of they by no means skilled a Tremendous Bowl hangover.
That narrative hinges on one dangerous loss. Again in Week 7, that they had a 17-Zero lead at halftime however failed to shut out the Dolphins. It didn’t assist that they suffered the meltdown every week earlier than their Tremendous Bowl LI rematch towards the Patriots.
Granted, the Falcons haven’t been scoring factors like they did final season, however that doesn’t have something to do with some foolish hangover.
Which may have slightly one thing to do with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who earlier than this season had no expertise within the NFL calling performs. However Atlanta didn’t rent him to vary the offense; they employed him to make sure continuity.
Inform your folks that the extra seemingly cause is that the offense scored factors final season at a ridiculous and unsustainable charge. The 2016 Falcons scored on 55.eight p.c of their drives. That was the very best charge for the reason that 2007 Patriots — the 18-1 Patriots — scored on 57.Zero p.c of their drives.
Guess what occurred to the 2008 Patriots. Tom Brady suffered a season-ending harm within the opener, and New England’s scoring charge dropped about 10 proportion factors. The decline for this season’s Falcons has been steeper — all the way down to 43.three p.chowever that’s nonetheless the seventh-best charge within the NFL.
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Query I: What’s up with Matt Ryan?

 
Throughout Ryan’s MVP marketing campaign final season, he led the NFL in yards per try (9.three), landing proportion (7.1) and quarterback score (117.1). Just like the Falcons offense as an entire, that degree of manufacturing wasn’t sustainable.
His manufacturing this season, although, tracks carefully together with his profession averages. As an alternative of being one of the best, he’s merely among the best. He stays one of many league’s best passers.
 
Ryan has continued to take pictures down the sphere. His common go size this season is 9.1 yards (eighth most), up from eight.7 yards final season. In opposition to the Seahawks on Monday evening, he accomplished three of 5 deep passes for 75 yards.
He appears to have put his early season troubles with interceptions behind him. He threw six picks in his first fives video games however has thrown solely two in his previous 5.
What’s up with Ryan? Nothing. He’s simply again to being an excellent and underappreciated quarterback.
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You bear in mind Clayborn, the Bucs’ first-round decide in 2011. The defensive finish by no means lived as much as his draft standing whereas in Tampa Bay and has been taking part in for Atlanta for the reason that begin of the 2015 season. He has attracted plenty of consideration currently, recording six sacks towards the Cowboys two weeks in the past and returning a fumble for a landing towards the Seahawks on Monday evening.
Is that this only a scorching streak or is it one thing extra? It depends upon the way you consider defensive linemen. In the event you go by sacks, you could be inclined to imagine Clayborn’s current performances are a blip. In spite of everything, he recorded these six sacks towards Dallas’ backup left deal with. In his earlier 37 video games with the Falcons, he recorded 9.5 sacks.
 
Sacks, nonetheless, aren’t the one measure of a lineman’s productiveness. There’s proof that signifies that that is greater than only a two-game run for Clayborn. He has been pressuring quarterbacks all season lengthy. He has generated 43 pressures on about 270 pass-rush snaps, which has helped him earn a 12.5 pass-rush productiveness score from Professional Soccer Focus. That score ranks 12th amongst greater than 100 qualifying edge rushers.
Clayborn often rushes from the correct facet of the protection, which suggests it usually shall be Bucs left deal with Donovan Smith’s accountability to comprise him. Smith has been inconsistent in go safety, so it’s potential that Clayborn might have one other robust recreation.
 
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What to observe for: The Falcons in three tight finish formations

Be on alert if you see Atlanta come to the offensive line with a number of tight ends. It'll seem as in the event that they’re including large our bodies to open lanes for the working again, however it could be smoke and mirrors.
Few groups name play motion and bootlegs as usually because the Falcons, and few are as efficient. They name a play-action go 23 p.c of time (sixth most) and achieve eight.eight yards per play (eighth most).
 
Right here’s an instance from their win over the Seahawks. On first and 10 from the Seattle 25-yard line, Atlanta involves the road in 13 personnel (one working again, three tight ends and one receiver). All three tight ends line up on the correct facet of the offensive line, with Levine Toilolo the innermost tight finish.
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It seems like a run. Then it seems like a go to the correct facet of the sphere. But it surely’s neither. Toilolo initially acts as if he's a run blocker and hides within the visitors on the line of scrimmage.
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As Ryan runs a bootleg to the correct facet, Toilolo sneaks out to the left facet. Each Seahawks defender is busy watching Ryan or the Falcons receivers working to the correct, which leaves Toilolo large open. Ryan’s go lands in Toilolo’s fingers simply forward of Seahawks security Earl Thomas. The landing provides the Falcons a 31-20 lead.
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Atlanta executed the identical idea all through final season, together with on this 30-yard go to Toilolo in Week 14 towards the 49ers.
Look acquainted? It ought to. The Bucs have executed that a number of occasions this season to get tight finish O.J. Howard open.
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Final Sunday towards the Dolphins for 24 yards.
 
• In Week 7 towards the Payments for 33 yards and a landing.
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• In Week four towards the Giants for 58 yards and a landing.
Bizarre. It’s nearly as if coaches and coordinators see profitable performs after which copy them.
 
 

Key matchup: Bucs receiver Mike Evans vs. Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant

Contemplating the effectivity of the Falcons offense, the Bucs would possibly want an enormous afternoon from Evans. That shall be no straightforward job towards Trufant, one of many league’s greatest cornerbacks.
Trufant has rebounded properly after lacking the second half of final season due to a torn pectoral muscle, an harm he suffered throughout Atlanta’s Week 9 win over Tampa Bay. He has intercepted two passes and recorded 9 go breakups but additionally has allowed 4 touchdowns.
The final time they performed the Falcons, the Bucs obtained the higher of Trufant, finishing six of seven passes into his protection for 56 yards and a landing.
Tampa Bay received’t go away Evans on the correct facet of the sphere the entire recreation. They’ll often transfer him to the slot to present quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick an enormous goal over the center. After they do, pay slightly additional consideration. Evans caught two passes for 46 yards from that place final Sunday.
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Prediction

Falcons 33, Bucs 23

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