Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Key Matchups: Buccaneers vs. Falcons

CB Sterling Moore has already faced some of the NFL's top pass-catchers this season but now he draws the league leader in receptions and yards in Atlanta WR Julio Jones.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) will look to improve their standing in the NFC playoff hunt and get an intra-divisional season sweep when the take on the 6-5 Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Here are a few individual matchups that could play a key role in determining the outcome of this matchup of fellow playoff hopefuls:

RB Doug Martin vs. LB Paul Worrilow


Martin has 11 rushes of 20+ yards, the most of any individual player and more than 28 teams have total. The Falcons are one of 13 NFL teams to allow fewer than 100 rushing yards per game, but have given up 13 rushing TDs, the second most in the league. Worrilow leads the Falcons with 70 tackles, 51 of them solo.

WR Mike Evans vs. CB Robert Alford


Evans was held to just 48 yards on three receptions in the first meeting, but has seen his numbers rise in the games since. In his last four games, Evans is fourth in the league in receptions (25) and second in yards (403). Alford has two interceptions this season, one returned for a touchdown.

QB Jameis Winston vs. DE Kroy Biermann


In November, Jameis Winston did a good job protecting
the ball, throwing seven passing touchdowns to only three interceptions in five games. He'll need another turnover-free game this week to help the Bucs succeed, and he'll need to do so evading Biermann and the Falcons' pass rush, which is last in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

CB Sterling Moore vs. WR Julio Jones


Julio Jones leads all NFL receivers in both receptions (94) and yards (1,245) and is on pace to break into the all-time top three in each category. He had 12 catches for 162 yards and a score against the Bucs last time. This week, Sterling Moore will again face one of the NFL's best after two strong home field performances against Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant.

LB Danny Lansanah vs. QB Matt Ryan


Vikings OLB Anthony Barr had a big day against the Falcons last week with eight tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles, one from Ryan. In the Bucs first meeting with the Falcons, it was LB Kwon Alexander filling the stat sheets with 11 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. This week could be Lansanah's turn to get after the Falcons QB.

DT Gerald McCoy vs. Falcons RBs


To go along with his team-leading seven sacks, McCoy has also been a major factor in the Bucs' proficiency in defending the run. Last week, the Colts managed just 27 yards on 26 carries. Atlanta's RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will have to get through a stout Bucs line to have an impact.

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