Falcons vs Buccaneers
The Falcons may own the NFL’s top-ranked offense, but the Buccaneers have had their number with Jameis Winston under center. The former Heisman Trophy recipient will attempt to get a second series sweep against Atlanta in as many seasons. The division rivals clash at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Thursday night (Enter Contest)
On Sunday, Winston managed to get two touchdown in the loss against Oakland. He was able to toss four scoring passes during the season-opening victory over Atlanta on September 11. Trusted target Mike Evans reeled in a scoring strike against the Falcons. His six touchdown receptions are tied for the NFL lead. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan continued his stellar season with three touchdown passes in Sunday’s 33-32 victory over Green Bay. An 11-yard scoring strike to offseason acquisition Mohamed Sanu capped his 32nd career game-winning drive. Ryan, who leads the league in both yards (2,636) and touchdowns (19), has thrown for 1,000 yards and five scores in his last three encounters with Tampa Bay. He will face a Buccaneers defense that ranks 23rd in the league (274.7 yards per contest).
ABOUT THE FALCONS (5-3)
The Falcons leads the NFC South standings. Julio Jones has amassed an NFC-best 859 yards and is averaging 20.0 yards per catch, but the electric wideout finished with 29 yards receiving this past week for the second time this season. He was hobbled by an ailing knee. Jones is expected to play on Thursday. Running back Tevin Coleman (hamstring) is listed as questionable after sitting out last week’s tilt versus the Packers. Devonta Freeman more than picked up the slack with a rushing and receiving touchdown last week. He has 100-plus scrimmage yards in two of his last three contests, although he was limited to just 20 yards on 11 carries in the season-opening loss. Austin Hooper made five receptions for 41 yards during week 8 of the NFL in place of fellow tight end Jacob Tamme (shoulder), who has been ruled out versus Tampa Bay.
ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (3-4)
While Tampa Bay’s passing game is pretty well defined, the backfield has remained in motion through most of the season due to injury. Jacquizz Rodgers filled in admirably for Doug Martin (hamstring) before sustaining a sprained foot versus the Raiders. This injury will keep him out of Thursday game. It will open the door for a three-man backfield of Antone Smith, Peyton Barber and Mike James. Linebacker Kwon Alexander recorded 14 tackles versus Oakland last week, his highest total since collecting 17 in the season opener at Atlanta. The Bucs acquired a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft from Detroit for corneback Johnthan Banks on Tuesday.