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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 Keys to Defeating the Atlanta Falcons

A few ways that the Buccaneers can come out with a victory in Week 8.


1. Bend but don't break on defense.
The Falcons present one of the league's best triple-threats with quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Devonta Freeman and wide receiver Julio Jones. All three have established themselves among the league's best at their respective positions, with Freeman leading the NFL in rushing yards through seven weeks. The Falcons have lost just once this season, dropping to New Orleans in Week 6. In that game, Ryan, Freeman and Jones all performed well; Ryan threw for 295 yards while Freeman rushed for 100 yards and Jones had 93 receiving yards. Despite their efforts, though, the Falcons scored just 21 points. The lesson to be learned in the Falcons' lone defeat – bend, but don't break, and keep their top weapons out of the end zone.

2. Feed Doug Martin.
Martin might face his toughest challenge yet when the Bucs and Falcons square off on Sunday. Atlanta's defense allows an average of 78.6 rushing yards per game, the second-fewest in the league. Martin enters the game with 541 yards, the third-most in the league. He has picked up 100 yards in each of his past three games. In order to maintain a balance on offense and get into reasonable down-and-distances on third downs, the Bucs need Martin, and the team's offensive line, to continue to produce.

3. Win the turnover battle.
In both of the Bucs' victories this season, Jameis Winston has finished the day without throwing an interception. Winston wasn't picked off last Sunday, either, though the Bucs eventually lost the game. But protecting the football is only half of the equation – the Bucs' defense needs to create turnovers. Tampa Bay has just three interceptions so far this season, tied for the second-fewest in the league. Through six games, the Bucs' turnover ratio is -2 while the Falcons are +2. Last week, the Bucs returned a fumble for a score, their second defensive touchdown of 2015. A game-changing turnover like that could be the difference between a victory and a defeat this Sunday.

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