PFF Preview: Falcons @ Buccaneers, Week 10
Even after enduring a five game skid, the Atlanta Falcons find themselves just two games behind the division leading Saints as they travel south looking to keep their divisional record perfect. One of the early divisional rematches of the season, the Bucs will have to put that last encounter in Atlanta out of mind, as they were thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball en route to a 42-point blowout on Thursday Night Football.
That was the high point for the Falcons though, who have allowed nearly 28 points per game in the five games since. As if to take pressure off Atlanta’s defense, Tampa Bay made the questionable decision to insert the 35-year old Josh McCown back into the starting lineup for the first time since he injured his thumb in the first meeting between these two teams, even though Mike Glennon has arguably played better and has dramatically more upside.
Tampa will have some defensive firepower back though, as the Bucs were without Gerald McCoy in that contest, and free agent signing Michael Johnson played just seven snaps as he battled with a hand injury. Atlanta has dangerous weapons on offense, but if Tampa Bay can get pressure against what should be an overmatched Falcons offensive line, this one will be a lot closer than the last contest.
Matt Ryan – While his NFL quarterback rating lands him firmly in the middle of the pack, Ryan has had more yardage lost to drops with 232 “in-air” yards (not accounting for potential yards after the catch) gone to waste. Ryan has lost on the 20 passes his receivers have let fall incomplete yet his Accuracy Percentage of 76.2% is sixth best.
Desmond Trufant – One of the few bright spots on defense, Trufant has built on his strong rookie campaign with another solid season. Outside of an 81 yard game in Minnesota, the sophomore hasn’t allowed more than 60 yards or four catches in any game this year.
Jonathan Massaquoi – The third-year defensive end leads the Falcons with two sacks and 16 total pressures. He’s been inconsistent though, with 11 of those pressures coming in two games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gerald McCoy – He’s missed nearly two full games due to injury and has already had his bye week, but McCoy still leads all defensive tackles with 27 quarterback disruptions.
Mike Evans – Is Tampa’s first-round pick finding his stride? Evans posted career highs in targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns last week in Cleveland with a +2.6 receiving grade. His 2.07 Yards per Route Run is second among rookie wideouts for the season.
Josh McCown – Despite facing three of the league’s weakest pass defenses, McCown’s passing grade through Week 3 was -6.0, which was 27th out of 32 starting quarterbacks through three weeks.
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