The Bucs are recharged coming off the bye week and so are we with this week’s bold predictions.
Both teams enter this game with the season hanging in the balance. Tampa Bay had a plethora of issues to fix over the extra week. Did they figure out how to correct said issues or are they problems that linger throughout the season?
There won’t be an official answer until Sunday, but until then, ease your mind with these predictions for the divisional showdown in Week 6.
1. Julio Jones will catch his first two touchdowns of the season (Evan)
When I said ease your mind, I lied.
Jones averages around 1,293 yards a season, but only about six touchdowns coming into 2018. He has yet to score this year.
As great as Jones is as a player, he is oddly allergic to the end zone.
That will change this weekend.
Jones is no stranger to success when it comes to playing Tampa Bay. No matter what, he always finds a way against the Bucs.
I'll let Greg Auman of the Athletic expound my point:
Atlanta's Julio Jones has three multi-TD games against the Bucs, but just six total against everyone else, and no more than one against any other team.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 9, 2018
Bucs play at Atlanta on Sunday. Since start of 2017 season, Falcons WR Julio Jones has two TDs in two games vs. Bucs, one total TD in 19 games against everyone else. Since start of 2016, Jones has four TDs in four games vs. Bucs, five TDs in 31 games vs. everyone else.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 9, 2018
Yea. Let that sink in for a minute or two.
Tampa Bay’s defense is trash and I haven’t seen enough from Mike Smith over the past two seasons to think anything will improve on Sunday.
Jones makes his hay - and many fantasy owners happy - on Sunday.
2. The Bucs rush for over 100 yards as a team (Evan)
The Bucs, on the other hand, have rushed for 100 yards as a team just once in four games. That came in the Week 1 victory against the New Orleans Saints.
Since Week 1, they have averaged a terrible 55 yards per game on the ground and are officially the worst rushing team before contact heading into Week 6.
Bucs are worst rushing team in the league before contact. Not ideal. https://t.co/jb21aO4D6Q— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) October 10, 2018
Something has to give this weekend between the two teams.
Atlanta could be without Pro Bowl DT Grady Jarret for the second straight week, which would be a major victory for the Bucs’ offensive line. Jarrett is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL, even though the Falcons were giving up an average 119 rushing yards per game before his injury.
Tampa Bay should have a temporary solution for the ground game after the extra week and I expect it to come to full fruition against the Falcons.
3. There will be at least (10+) 20-yard plays from both teams, combined.
The Falcons average right around five plays of 20 yards or more per game and give up an average of four. The Bucs average around five as well and give up about five.
Expect things to stay on track this weekend.
4. Ryan Smith receives more playing time over Brent Grimes at some point for consecutive weeks. (Alex)
Since returning from injury, Grimes has been picked on by opposing teams in the only two games he has played this season. Is it rust? Age? Match ups? The Buccaneers need Grimes to be at his best in order for this defense to improve.
Ryan Smith played the best game of his career in week two and since then has seen very limited action outside of the second half of week four, which again, he played good football. Grimes will struggle again this week and Tampa Bay will turn to Smith for help.
5. Jameis Winston has the best all around game of his career. (Alex)
It might not be the boldest prediction because the Atlanta Falcons simply don’t have a good defense, but it’s something I think will happen come Sunday. Look, Winston is a lot better then the national media paints him out to be and throughout his career he has actually played some of his best ball against the Falcons.
Outside of O.J. Howard, who isn’t likely to play this week, the rest of the offense is healthy and ready to go against a banged up Falcons defense. This game provides an opportunity for Tampa Bay to get back on track with their starting quarterback of the future.
We saw it throughout the preseason, Winston is ready to go this year and is on a mission to prove people wrong. Winston goes for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns.