The Buccaneers are staring at .500 right in the face and after their loss to the Texans last week, the opportunity wasted to finish above .500 also diminished. But Tampa Bay can make things better by ending their first season under Bruce Arians with a win at home against the Atlanta Falcons and an 8-8 record.
Here are this week’s Bucs Nation staff picks.
Gil Arcia (9-6)
Score Prediction: Falcons 27, Bucs 20
Why: I’m just chasing Evan. I at least need to tie his record. So I have no other reason for picking the Falcons.
James Yarcho (6-9)
Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Falcons 20
Why: I can't fathom Jameis Winston having two epic duds back-to-back weeks to end the season. It's unfortunate he laid an egg the way he did last week, but this isn't going to be the team to give Bruce Arians his first losing record as a head coach. There's just as much - if not, more - turmoil going on within the Falcons' locker room and this will be Dan Quinn's final game as Atlanta's head coach. No Evans, no Godwin, no problem. Bucs close things out at .500.
Evan Winter (10-5)
Score Prediction: Bucs 34, Falcons 30
Why: This game could go either way, but I’m picking Tampa Bay.
The Bucs will want to finish out the season, year, and decade strong with a win over a division rival. Both teams are beat up, but the Bucs have more playmakers than the Falcons and that will give them the edge on Sunday.
Bailey Adams (9-6)
Score Prediction: Bucs 28, Falcons 23
Why: The Bucs dominated the Falcons just a month ago. They were the better team on that Sunday in Atlanta, and it wasn’t really that close. While injuries have hit since then and they’re down their top two receivers, I still think they have enough to win this game on Sunday and finish the season 8-8. Jameis Winston has played well against the Falcons in his career and a big game to close out his wild season might just soften the reaction a bit when he gets the franchise tag or a new contract this offseason. Plus, the Tampa Bay defense is playing with confidence. That unit will lead the way and the offense will do enough to end 2019 on a high note.
Kyle Marks (6-9)
Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Falcons 13
Why: The defense has been playing very well and I fully expect it to continue to close out the season. On the other side of the ball, I expect the offense to move up and down the field with some long drives. I full believe Jameis will make history and throw two interception and despite that I still have the Bucs doing enough on offense to make this an easy “W” with a beat up receiving core.
David Harrison (7-8)
Score Prediction: Bucs 26, Falcons 29
Why: It’s hard to predict what Jameis Winston will do in another week without his best two receivers. Over the past four years, Winston led Buccaneers teams have scored an average of 25.25 points in the game immediately following Christmas. Over the same span, Matt Ryan has led the Falcons to an average of 28.5 points per game. Only one of them is undefeated. One of them has beaten every team but one in the NFC South in those games up to this point. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Falcons win, 29-26.
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