3 Keys to Defeating the Atlanta Falcons

Three things the Buccaneers must do to defeat the Falcons on Sunday.

Projected starters for the Falcons as listed on team depth chart.

1. Slow down Julio Jones.
When the Buccaneers and Falcons met in Week 8, Jones has one of his best games of the season. Jones caught 12 passes on 13 targets, picking up 162 yards and a touchdown. He ended the game averaging more than 13 yards per reception. The Buccaneers have a completely new set of cornerbacks this time around, though. In Week 8, Mike Jenkins and Johnthan Banks worked with the first-team defense. This weekend, Jude Adjei-Barimah and Sterling Moore are expected to start. It's easier said than done, but keeping the ball out of Jones' hands is a starting point for slowing down Atlanta's offense, which averages the fifth-most yards per game in the NFL this season.

2. Keep the pocket clean for Jameis Winston.
The matchup between the Bucs' offensive line and Falcons' defensive line is one Tampa Bay must win on Sunday, especially after the team has struggled to protect Winston recently. The Bucs have surrendered nine sacks over the course of the past three games, but the Falcons have just 12 sacks on the season, which are tied for the fewest in the league. The Bucs hope to rebound after giving up two sacks to the Falcons earlier this season.

3. Get Doug Martin the ball.
As far as the numbers are concerned, Martin and the Bucs' rushing attack will face a stiff test on Sunday. Atlanta has the league's No. 10 rush defense, giving up less than 100 yards per game, and held Martin to 71 yards in the teams' matchup in Week 8. Martin is No. 2 in the league in rushing so far this season. If he moves to No. 1 on that list after Sunday, chances are that the Bucs will be walking away with a win, too.

Photos of rookie QB Jameis Winston's performance against the Falcons.

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