Sunday marks the first time the Buccaneers and Falcons will meet this season. Tampa Bay has already satisfied their home and away series for both its other NFC South opponents. Now, they'll face the Falcons in Atlanta before concluding the season at home in Week 17 with the rematch.
Ahead of their first meeting, the Falcons are riding a two-game win streak, both over NFC South teams, in fact. In other words, they're looking to make it a three-game streak over all three of their divisional opponents against the Bucs.
Here's what the Falcons are saying ahead of Sunday's matchup:
…The Falcons picked off Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen four times in their decisive 29-3 victory and are always focused on creating turnovers. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians won't pin the turnovers, of which Tampa Bay has a league-leading 25, all on one player. He believes it's been a combination of things that have led to the high number of giveaways.
"That's the biggest thing," Arian's said of the collection of mistakes. "It's not all on the quarterback, but some of it is. But the guys around him have to do better. We're not creating enough turnovers, defensively, to offset it. That's been the biggest problem, but it is a collection of guys.
…Bucs putting up points on offense
Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers' offense under new head coach Bruce Arians have consistently put up points in each of their games. Tampa Bay (3-7) ranks No. 6 in the league in scoring, averaging 27.7 points per game.
Winston leading one of NFL's top passing attacks
The Bucs have the No. 5 passing offense in the league, averaging 285.6 yards per game through the air. Only the Cowboys (312.7), Chiefs (301.7) and Falcons (300.3) average more passing yards per game.
…The turnaround seemingly began in the second half of the Falcons 27-20 loss against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8. Trailing 24-0 at halftime, the Falcons outscored the Seahawks 20-3 in the second half, looking much more consistent on both sides of the ball. For those keeping track, that's 10 quarters in which the Falcons have held their opponents out of the end zone.
But as stunning as this turnaround has been, it's been a bit trickier to pinpoint any concrete reasons for the about-face. Perhaps the best place to start is that Atlanta seems to have moved players back into roles they are better suited to.
…Both the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter Sunday's game with a 3-7 record, but the two teams appear to be headed in completely different directions. The Falcons have two resounding rivalry wins in their last two weeks, while the Buccaneers have lost five of their last six games and a coming off a 34-17 loss against the Saints.