The Tampa Bay Buccaneers couldn't climb out of a turnover-induced 20-point hole against New Orleans in Week 11, thus missing out on an opportunity to post consecutive wins for the first time in 2019 and to make up some ground in the NFC South. They'll have another shot at that second goal in Week 13 as they head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
It is a matchup of 3-7 teams, though the two squads got there in different ways. The Buccaneers snapped a four-game winning streak by beating Arizona at home in Week 10 and hoped that they were close to turning the corner on a season filled with narrow losses, only to have the 34-17 loss to New Orleans keep that from happening. Meanwhile the Falcons may have actually turned their own corner, coming out of their bye week with a 1-7 record and immediately posting consecutive blowout road victories over the Saints and Panthers. Those were actually the first two intra-division games for Atlanta all year, which is right in the middle of a five-week stretch of taking on NFC South foes.
The Buccaneers and Falcons actually did get to 3-7 in a somewhat similar way, in that each team has had a relatively product offense plagued by a bad turnover differential and a defense that had trouble keeping the scoreboard from rolling. Atlanta went into its Week Nine bye as the team ranked last in the NFL in points allowed per contest, but that mantle now belongs to the Buccaneers. The Falcons and Bucs also rank 27th and 29th, respectively, in turnover differential, but Tampa Bay is the NFL's sixth-highest scoring team. Both teams are loaded with talent in the passing game with the likes of Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin and Calvin Ridley, but neither team has found much run-pass balance. Atlanta is the hotter team after its two post-bye wins but the Buccaneers continue to fight hard every Sunday and are likely motivated by the continued belief that they are more talented than their record would indicate. Here's what you need to know to prepare for the latest NFC South battle taking place in Atlanta on Sunday:
GAME AND BROADCAST DETAILS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) at Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
Sunday, November 24, 1:00 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (capacity: 71,000)
Television: FOX (Local WTVT Channel 13)
TV Broadcast Team: Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst), Jennifer Hale (sideline)
Radio: 98Rock (WXTB, 97.9 FM), Flagship Station
Radio Broadcast Team: Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (analyst), T.J. Rives (sideline)
ALL-TIME HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES
As recently as October of 2016 the Buccaneers had a two-game edge in the all-time series against the Falcons. A five-game run by their NFC South rivals has flipped that, however, and Atlanta now leads the series, 27-24. Since the two teams were paired in the newly-created NFC South in 2002, the head-to-head matchup has been a back-and-forth mostly even affair, with Atlanta's current run giving them a 19-15 edge. Tampa Bay is 10-14 all-time in games played in Atlanta, though they are still looking for their first win in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium after initial losses there in 2017 and 2018.
Both games last year went down to the wire, neither ending well for the Buccaneers. In Week Six in Atlanta, Tampa Bay rallied from a 15-point deficit to make it a 31-29 game with four minutes to play on Peyton Barber's five-yard touchdown catch. The Falcons then tacked on a field goal to make it a five-point game with just over a minute to play but Jameis Winston got the visitors back into scoring range with consecutive completions of 18, 18 and 19 yards to DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and Adam Humphries. With seven seconds left and the ball at Atlanta's 21, the Bucs tried a tricky play in which Winston began to scramble up the middle and then suddenly attempted a lateral to Humphries. The ball ended up on the turf before Evans scooped it up and got a one-hopper off to Jackson, who appeared to have a path to the end zone pylon along the left sideline. However, Jackson couldn't haul it in and time expired on a 34-29 Falcons victory.
In the Week 17 rematch, at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs gave up a 10-point halftime lead and fell behind by 11 in the fourth quarter before once again rallying, this time taking the lead with five minutes to play on a 19-yard Chris Godwin touchdown catch. That was too much time to leave Matt Ryan, however, and he hit Julio Jones on a pair of 16-yard passes to get the ball into field goal range. Matt Bryant won it as time expired with a 37-yarder.
· Atlanta's coaching staff contains two former Tampa Bay head coaches. Most recently, Dirk Koetter was at the Buccaneers' helm from 2016-18 after one season as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator. Koetter now holds that latter title with the Falcons, returning to the same post in Atlanta he had from 2002-14. Atlanta's Assistant Head Coach Raheem Morris had the corner office at Buccaneers headquarters from 2009-11, the last three of his nine years on Tampa Bay's staff. Before graduating to head coach, Morris had also served as a defensive quality control coach on the 2002 Super Bowl staff, eventually moving on to coach the defensive backs.
· Falcons Tight Ends Coach Mike Mularkey is not a former Buccaneers head coach but he did get his NFL coaching career started in Tampa working with the same position for the Buccaneers under Sam Wyche from 1994-95. Mularkey later had head coaching stints with Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tennessee. Atlanta's staff includes another former tight ends coach for the Buccaneers in Offensive Assistant Ben Steele, who was in Tampa from 2017-18.
· Atlanta President and CEO Rich McKay was associated with the Buccaneers for decades before joining the Falcons in 2004, beginning when his father, the late John McKay, became Tampa Bay's first head coach in 1976. The younger McKay first joined the Bucs' staff as the vice president of football administration in 1992 and began serving as the general manager in 1994. He was a key architect in the construction of the Buccaneers team that won Super Bowl XXXVII.
· Warrick Dunn, who is now a Falcons Limited Partner, split his 12-year playing career as an NFL running back evenly between the Buccaneers and the Falcons. He and Marshall Faulk are the only two players in NFL history to record at least 7,500 yards from scrimmage with two different teams. Dunn joined the Buccaneers as a first-round draft pick in 1997 and stayed with the team for five seasons before signing with the Falcons in 2002. He later returned for a final season in Tampa in 2008.
· Tampa Bay's Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong held the same role with the Falcons for 11 years (2008-18). That was Armstrong's second stint in Atlanta as he also coached the Falcons' safeties from 1994-95 and took over as secondary coach in 1996.
· Defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who is in his second stint with the Falcons (also 2015-17), entered the league as a first-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2011 and played four seasons in Tampa.
· Atlanta tight end Luke Stocker was a member of the same draft class as Clayborn, coming to Tampa as a fourth-round pick in 2011. Stocker's stint with the Buccaneers lasted through November of 2017.
· Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich spent one of his nine seasons as an NFL quarterback in Atlanta, starting three games for the Falcons in 2007.
SENIOR COACHING STAFFS
· Tampa Bay:
· Head Coach Bruce Arians
· Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin
· Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles
· Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich
· Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong
· Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn
· Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter
· Assistant Head Coach Raheem Morris
· Special Teams Coordinator Ben Kotwica
KEY 2019 ROSTER ADDITIONS
· OLB Sam Acho (FA)
· OLB Shaquil Barrett (UFA)
· CB Jamel Dean (3rd-round draft pick)
· S Mike Edwards (3rd-round draft pick)
· K Matt Gay (5th-round draft pick)
· CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (2nd-round draft pick)
· WR Breshad Perriman (UFA)
· P Bradley Pinion (UFA
· DL Ndamukong Suh (UFA)
· LB Devin White (1st-round draft pick)
· P Ryan Allen (FA)
· DE Allen Bailey (FA)
· RB Kenjon Barner (UFA)
· G Jamon Brown (UFA)
· G James Carpenter (UFA)
· DE Adrian Clayborn (FA)
· DE John Cominsky (4th-round draft pick)
· K Younghoe Koo (FA)
· T Kaleb McGary (1st-round draft pick)
· CB Kendall Sheffield (4th-round draft pick)
· FB Keith Smith (FA)
· TE Luke Stocker (UFA)
ADDITIONAL 2019 CHANGES OF NOTE
· In January, Tampa Bay engineered one of the most significant changes a franchise could make in hiring a new head coach. That man is Bruce Arians, who needed just five years to become the winningest coach in Arizona Cardinals history and who has a history of helping quarterbacks excel. Arians assembled an extremely experienced coaching staff around him, almost all of whom he had worked with in the past.
· One of the coaches Arians brought on was Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles, who served under him in the same capacity in Arizona in 2013 and 2014 before becoming the Jets' head coach. Bowles' arrival means the Buccaneers have technically switched to a base 3-4 defense, something the team hadn't identified with since 1990.
· Bowles' defense means certain players were redefined as outside linebackers, inside linebackers and defensive linemen. No matter the position designations, Tampa Bay's defense has assumed a more aggressive approach in terms of blitz frequency and variety and press-man coverage.
· Tampa Bay's offense was prolific in 2018 in terms of yards, especially in the passing attack, and most of its starters return for 2019, so one could have reasonably expected another strong season on that side of the ball. Indeed, the Buccaneers are sixth in the NFL in scoring through 11 weeks with 27.7 points per game, up from 24.8 in 2018.
· The Buccaneers released CB Vernon Hargreaves on December 12, parting ways with their 2016 first-round pick after three-and-a-half seasons. Tampa Bay's secondary is experiencing a youth movement, with six players from the last two drafts figuring prominently in the mix now.
· Atlanta chose to shake up its coaching staff during its Week Nine bye, though not by addition or subtraction. Instead, Assistant Head Coach Raheem Morris, who also had the title of passing game coordinator and had been tutoring the wide receivers, was reassigned to coach the defensive backs and is now involved in the defensive play-calling on game days. Assistant Special Teams Coach Bernie Parmalee, a former NFL running back, moved over into that meeting room, freeing Running Backs Coach Dave Brock to work with wide receivers. Atlanta is 2-0 since those changes, allowing a total of 12 points on four field goals in those two contests.
· The Falcons also have a new special teams coordinator in 2019 after a three-team rotation at that position. Ben Kotwica, who had been in charge of the special teams for Washington, came to Atlanta and replaced Keith Armstrong, who joined Bruce Arians' first staff in Tampa. Nate Kaczor, who had been the Buccaneers' special teams coordinator under Dirk Koetter through 2018, completed the circle by heading to Washington to replace Kotwica.
· The Falcons pulled off two trades prior to this year's deadline. First, on September 30, Atlanta sent linebacker Duke Riley to Philadelphia in exchange for safety Johnathan Cyprien and a 2020 seventh-round pick. Cyprien later landed on injured reserve. Then, on October 22, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu was sent to New England for a 2020 second-round pick.
· After 11 seasons, the Falcons have moved on from kicker Matt Bryant, though it happened in stages. The Falcons declined a 2019 contract option on Bryant in February and then wasn't re-signed when he became an unrestricted free agent in March. The Falcons went to camp with Giorgio Tavecchio as their kicker and later signed Blair Walsh, but then chose to re-sign Bryant on the eve of the regular season. After Bryant went nine of 14 on field goals through eight games the Falcons released him and signed Younghoe Koo.
The Real Falcons? – So which Atlanta team more accurately depicts the team's talent level, especially on defense. Is it the pre-bye squad that went 1-7, was allowing 31.3 points per game and had racked up all of seven sacks and four takeaways in eight outings? Or is it the post-bye group that is 2-0, has allowed a total of four field goals and 12 points in those two games and has 11 sacks and four takeaways. The most substantive move the Falcons made during their bye was the aforementioned coaching shakeup that got Raheem Morris's input on defense. Of course, the Buccaneers have to assume that they'll be facing the aggressive, disruptive crew that completely stymied good offenses in New Orleans and Charlotte, and they'll be facing that defense in its home, with the Atlanta crowd behind them. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who has 2.5 of his 5.5 sacks in the last three games, leads that newly assertive defense with his non-stop style of havoc-wreaking, and the other two levels of the defense have top performers, too, in linebacker Deion Jones and cornerback Desmond Trufant. Atlanta-Tampa Bay games in recent seasons have generally been high-scoring affairs – both games last year came down to the wire and featured more than 60 total points – but the Buccaneers' high-scoring offense may have a tougher challenge than originally expected in rolling up points on the Falcons this Sunday.
More Secondary Shuffling – The Buccaneers have tried a number of different combinations with their mostly young secondary this season, searching for tighter coverage and fewer breakdowns, and they broke out a new one in Week 11 after the release of fourth-year cornerback Vernon Hargreaves. In this case, the Bucs used rookie safety Mike Edwards as their slot corner in sub packages, between the outside duo of rookie Sean Murphy-Bunting and second-year man Carlton Davis. In the previous two games, rookie Jamel Dean had seen his first real action and broken up a total of eight passes, with his second contest against Arizona going particularly well. Seeking to play a lot of zone coverage against the Saints and occasionally utilize Edwards' good blitzing skills (he had the team's only sack), the Bucs favored the new package over using Dean, who did not log a snap on defense. However, Head Coach Bruce Arians has made it clear this week that Dean will be more involved in the defense going forward. One potential option for the Bucs would be to move Murphy-Bunting into the slot in the nickel alignment and bring Dean in to play on the outside in those snaps.
Mike and the Birds – Julio Jones notably has a history of putting up big numbers against the Buccaneers, but much of the same could be said about Tampa Bay's Mike Evans against Atlanta. In 10 career games against the Falcons, Evans has averaged 85.6 yards per game and 15.3 yards per catch and scored a total of eight touchdowns, his most against any opponent. In the most recent meeting, in last year's season finale, he hauled in six passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. This is Evans' first crack at Atlanta in 2019 and he's entering the final third of what is shaping up as the best season yet in a remarkable career. Evans is second in the NFL with 993 receiving yards and his 17.1 yards per catch are second among all players in the top 15 in that yardage table. Earlier this year, Evans rounded out his ownership of the Bucs' all-time pass-catching records to include most receptions along with the yardage and touchdown standards he had already set. With his 69 yards against the Saints on Sunday, Evans leapt over Antonio Brown and Marvin Harrison on the NFL's all-time list of most receiving yards through a player's first six seasons. Evans is now eighth 7,096 yards and is a good bet to surpass A.J. Green (7,135) this Sunday. It's a bit more of a jump from there to the next two players on the list, DeAndre Hopkins (7,437) and, of course, Jones (7,610). Evans could put himself in decent position to catch Jones in the Week 17 Bucs-Falcons rematch if he can get a good haul on Sunday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Oh, and perhaps on his first catch Sunday, Evans will join Randy Moss as the only players in league history to begin their careers with six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
1996 Redux? – So have the Falcons turned the corner after their rough start, a possibility suggested above? That remains to be seen, as a two-game sample size is probably not enough to make any solid judgments. However, the Buccaneers have certainly not found their footing yet, which makes the last six weeks of the season important even in a campaign that is not going to end in a playoff spot. The Buccaneers had hoped for a quicker turnaround in Bruce Arians' first year as the head coach – much as the Arizona Cardinals enjoyed in 2013 – but would now have to win out to finish with a rookie record. But the Buccaneers don't necessarily have to win out in order to end the season on an encouraging note. In 1996, Tony Dungy's first Buccaneer team failed to break the franchise's 14-year playoff drought but did turn things around at the end. Those Bucs started the season 0-5 and then 1-8 but won five of their last seven contests. The confidence and momentum that was the result of that late turnaround clearly carried over into the following season, as the Bucs won their first five games in 1997 on their way to that drought-breaking playoff appearance. Multiple playoff seasons followed, culminating in victory in Super Bowl XXXVII in Jon Gruden's first year at the helm. Perhaps the 2019 Buccaneers can answer some questions down the stretch so that they won't have to linger into 2020.
"It's Turnovers" – Those were Bruce Arians' opening words when he took to the podium on Monday morning to further discuss the previous day's loss to the Saints. Or, to be exact, Arians said: "There's no secret – it's turnovers." And, indeed, it is no secret, nor is it even worth much argument. One month into the season the Buccaneers were +3 in turnover differential, with 10 takeaways and six giveaways, and they had a 2-2 record. Since then, the Bucs have lost five of six while turning it over 19 more times and taking it away just six. Amazingly, Tampa Bay still has a one-point edge over their opponents in points scored off turnovers, 77-76, but at its peak that number was +34 in the Bucs' favor. The Buccaneers are now -10 in turnover differential, and while that's not last in the league their 25 giveaways are the most by any team. The Buccaneers know that for their results to start matching up with that they believe they should be accomplishing, they simply must get back on the right side of the turnover battle each Sunday.
View some of the top photos from the Buccaneers' Week 12 practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
1. Buccaneers LG Ali Marpet vs. Falcons DT Grady Jarrett
As noted above, the Atlanta defense has come alive with 11 sacks in its last two games after registering only seven through the team's first eight games of the season. Jarrett helped get that steamroller started two weeks ago when he dropped Drew Brees in New Orleans 2.5 times, raising his own sack total on the year to a team-best 5.5. Jarrett is strong and quick and his motor never quits, so he's going to get have big moments in the backfield on long-developing plays. Jarrett won't line up exclusively over the Bucs' standout left guard, but he will spend plenty of time across from Marpet, trying to quickly shoot between him and the center or him and the tackle. Marpet was part of an offensive line that only allowed Winston to be sacked twice in 53 drop-backs last week against the Saints and he's one of the tougher Buccaneer linemen to get around or through. Marpet and Jarrett will also be a good matchup on running plays because both players are strong and difficult to move.
2. Falcons WR Calvin Ridley vs. Buccaneers CB Sean Murphy-Bunting
Atlanta nabbed the Alabama star in the first round in 2018 in order to pair him with the still-deadly Julio Jones, and Ridley had a fine rookie season with 821 yards and 10 touchdowns, though his offense, and his touchdowns in particular, seemed to come in bunches. That's still somewhat the case in Ridley's second season, though he's upped his yards per reception from 12.8 to 14.0 and his yards per game from 51.3 to 61.4. In any case, Ridley is coming off one of those big-bunch performances, as he caught eight passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta' Week 11 win in Carolina. The Buccaneers don't generally trail specific receivers with a certain cornerback, so both Murphy-Bunting and Carlton Davis are likely to see plenty of both Jones and Ridley. When Murphy-Bunting, the Bucs' rapidly-improving rookie, is on Ridley he'll have to match the receiver's speed, quick feet and smooth breaks in his routes. Both Murphy-Bunting and Davis could benefit from playing a physical game and using their length to press Ridley, who doesn't have as big of a frame as Jones.
3. Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones vs. Falcons LB Deion Jones
Even though the Falcons' defense has been extremely stingy on the scoreboard the last two weeks, it did give up 191 yards from scrimmage to the Panthers' Christian McCaffrey and 74 to the Saints' Alvin Kamara the week before. Obviously, McCaffrey and Kamara are two of the best all-around running backs in the NFL and they've done well against most defenses, but the Buccaneers may seek to create some of the same damage with their backs if Atlanta follows New Orleans' lead and tries to blanket Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Last Sunday, tight end Cam Brate picked up the slack over the middle of the field with 10 catches, but two games again Jones started to emerge as a real threat in the passing attack with 77 yards on eight catches. If the Bucs' Jones tries to get out in space for quick passes from Jameis Winston, he'll probably find himself hunted by his fellow Jones, the Falcons' smaller but very fast linebacker, who can make plays all over the field. Deion Jones has just one pass defensed this year but over the previous three seasons he had snared eight interceptions and 27 passes defensed. He is also the Falcons' leading tackler on running plays, so if the Buccaneers hope to get the running game back in their offense by sending Ronald Jones between the tackles they'll have to find a way to keep Deion Jones from getting free runs in the gaps.
4. Falcons RT Kaleb McGary vs. Buccaneers OLB Shaq Barrett
The Falcons took Washington's McGary late in the first round of the 2019 draft and he won the starting right tackle job, though he had to overcome a heart issue over the summer and a knee injury in the second game of the season. That may have contributed to some inconsistent performances early, though adjusting to the NFL is difficult for most rookies, but McGary has settled in as the season has progressed. He's a big presence on the right end of the line at 6-6 and 306 pounds and he's strong and difficult to bull-rush, so Barrett and the Bucs' other edge rushers may try to beat him with quickness and counter-moves. Barrett was held without a sack last Sunday against the Saints for just the third time in 10 games but he still ranks second in the NFL with 11.5 sacks and he has 17 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles. With injuries thinning out the Bucs' outside linebacker position, Barrett has been playing nearly every snap on defense and he remains the team's best hope for getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
DNP: Did not participate in practice
LP: Limited participation in practice
FP: Full participation in practice
NL: Not listed
· T Demar Dotson (not injury related) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· DL William Gholston (ankle) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· OLB Carl Nassib (groin) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
· OLB Anthony Nelson (hamstring) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· CB M.J. Stewart (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· DL Ndamukong Suh (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· QB Jameis Winston (ankle) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· DE Adrian Clayborn (groin) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: LP. Game Status: Not listed.
· DE John Cominsky (ankle) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: LP. Game Status: Questionable.
· RB Devonta Freeman (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· TE Austin Hooper (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· S Kemal Ishmael (concussion) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· WR Julio Jones (foot) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· DE Takk McKinley (shoulder) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: LP. Game Status: Questionable.
· QB Matt Ryan (ankle) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· CB Kendall Sheffield (illness) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Questionable.
· CB Desmond Trufant (toe) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
(Domed stadium) Outside: Partly cloudy, high of 55, low of 38, 10% chance of rain, 63% humidity, winds out of the WNW at 12 mph.
Head referee: Clay Martin (five seasons, second as referee)
· Favorite: Falcons (-3.0)
· Over/Under: 51.5
INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
Points Scored: K Matt Gay, 85
Touchdowns: WR Mike Evans/WR Chris Godwin, 7
Passing Yards: QB Jameis Winston, 3,078
Passer Rating: QB Jameis Winston, 80.5
Rushing Yards: RB Ronald Jones, 423
Receptions: WR Chris Godwin, 63
Receiving Yards: WR Mike Evans, 993
Interceptions: six tied w/1
Sacks: OLB Shaq Barrett, 11.5
Tackles: LB Lavonte David, 75
Points Scored: K Matt Bryant*, 41
Touchdowns: TE Austin Hooper, 6
Passing Yards: QB Matt Ryan, 2,663
Passer Rating: QB Matt Ryan, 97.8
Rushing Yards: RB Devonta Freeman, 371
Receptions: WR Julio Jones, 59
Receiving Yards: WR Julio Jones, 882
Interceptions: CB Desmond Trufant, 3
Sacks: DT Grady Jarrett, 5.5
Tackles: LB De'Vondre Campbell, 87
(* No longer on the roster.)
TEAM STAT RANKINGS
Scoring Offense: 6th (27.7 ppg)
Total Offense: 6th (380.4 ypg)
Passing Offense: 4th (285.6 ypg)
Rushing Offense: 21st (94.8 ypg)
First Downs Per Game: 5th (22.9)
Third-Down Pct.: 16th (39.1%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 23rd (8.87%)
Red Zone TD Pct.: 11th (61.1%)
Scoring Defense: 32nd (31.3 ppg)
Total Defense: 23rd (371.8 ypg)
Passing Defense: 31st (290.9 ypg)
Rushing Defense: 2nd (80.9 ypg)
First Downs Allowed Per Game: 28th (22.0)
Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 9th (35.2%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 27th (5.42%)
Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 21st (59.0%)
Turnover Margin: 29th (-10)
Scoring Offense: 26th (26.2 ppg)
Total Offense: 10th (374.8 ypg)
Passing Offense: 3rd (300.3 ypg)
Rushing Offense: 30th (74.5 ypg)
First Downs Per Game: 3rd (23.6)
Third-Down Pct.: 11th (42.9%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 10th (6.10%)
Red Zone TD Pct.: 19th (55.9%)
Scoring Defense: 26th (26.2 ppg)
Total Defense: 21st (369.3 ypg)
Passing Defense: 26th (261.7 ypg)
Rushing Defense: 19th (107.6 ypg)
First Downs Allowed Per Game: 25th (21.8)
Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 29th (46.0%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 29th (5.20%)
Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 24th (59.5%)
Turnover Margin: 27th (-8)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
· WR Mike Evans is already one of only three players in NFL history to start his career with five straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons, joining Randy Moss and A.J. Green. Now in his sixth season, Evans has 993 yards heading into Week 11. If he gets seven more on Sunday he will join Moss as the only two players to start their careers with six straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
· In addition, if Evans gets at least 40 receiving yards in Atlanta he will pass A.J. Green for the seventh-most in league history through a player's first six seasons. Evans is currently at 7,096 and Green had 7,135 from 2011-16.
· QB Jameis Winston has already set a Buccaneers franchise record with five consecutive 300-yard passing games and could double the previous mark by getting a sixth in a row on Sunday.
· OLB Shaq Barrett has 11.5 sacks through 10 games. If he records one more he will surpass Simeon Rice's Buccaneer record of 12 sacks through the first 11 games of a season.
· TE Cam Brate caught 10 passes last Sunday to push his career total to 184. His next catch will break a tie with Dave Moore for the fourth-most receptions by a tight end in franchise history.
· Head Coach Bruce Arians on the Buccaneers' imbalance in takeaways and giveaways in recent weeks: "[It's] the last five weeks, and defensively we are just not creating enough. When we're getting hands on balls, we're dropping interceptions – things like that. Fumbles are on the ground [and] we're not getting them. They usually come in bunches, so hopefully we've saved our share for the last six."
· LB Devin White on setting goals for his rookie season and how that season has gone: "I really didn't set any, that's the crazy thing. I just wanted to win ballgames. I couldn't be focused on myself coming in here to a team when we only won five games last year. So I really didn't set anything; it was only about winning games. I had an [injury] setback but I picked back up where I left off and I think I'm coming into my own now and getting better each and every week. But at the end of the day it's a team sport, so in order to get wins it's got to be a collective thing as a group."
· WR Scotty Miller on his role increasing in the offense: "I'm feeling really confident with it. Whether it be the one receiver or the five receiver or anywhere in between, you've got to go out there when your number's called and be able to make plays. That's the mindset I have. I've just got to be ready to go whenever I'm out there on the field. I've got to know what I'm doing and play fast and make plays when it comes my way."
· QB Jameis Winston on Atlanta's recent improvement on defense: "I think they've been doing a really good job. Atlanta's always been a really good group of tacklers but they've been doing a magnificent job of getting to the quarterback with their front four. So they've been playing great up front, so we've got to protect well and get the ball out quick."
· Arians on the Falcons looking recharged on recent game tape: "Yeah, just watching the New Orleans film [from] when they beat them in New Orleans, it was a different group of guys. Same guys, but it was a different group of guys. There seems to be more energy, especially defensively up front for them. Their coverage and their pass rush is syncing very well right now."