Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4 Falcons the Bucs Must Stop in Week 8

Four players that the Buccaneers need to focus on when Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta in Week 8.


1. RB Devonta Freeman
The Bucs will be faced with the tough task of containing Freeman, the NFL's leading rusher, on Sunday. Freeman has 621 yards so far this season, 57 more than any other back in the league, and averages 88.7 rushing yards per game, the NFL's fifth-most. He is also dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield; his 310 receiving yards are the second-most of any Falcon.

2. WR Julio Jones
Not only do the Falcons have the NFL's leading rusher, they also have the league's No. 2 wide receiver in Jones. He has 730 receiving yards, just 46 behind Houston's DeAndre Hopkins, the league-leader. Jones has five touchdowns, tied for the second-most in the league, and has 58 receptions, also No. 2 in the NFL. The Bucs allow an average of 230.2 passing yards per game, the tenth-fewest among NFL teams.

3. QB Matt Ryan
With Jones having so much success, it shouldn't be a surprise to see Ryan putting big numbers up, too. His 2,002 passing yards are the fourth-most in the league. He averages 286 yards per game, the seventh-most among quarterbacks. Despite Atlanta's strong running game, Ryan has been asked to throw the ball 267 times, the sixth-most attempts in the league. He's thrown nine touchdowns and six interceptions so far.

4. DT Jonathan Babineaux
According to Pro Football Focus, Babineaux is Atlanta's top-rated pass-rusher and is the league's sixth-best 3-4 defensive tackle while rushing the quarterback. He doesn't have a sack so far this season but has eight quarterback hurries and five quarterback hits. Babineaux is graded much lower against the run; he's No. 39 among players at his poition.

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