Free Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons

Buccaneers at Falcons NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Atlanta Falcons, NFL, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

In a bit of a scheduling fluke, these two NFC South divisional foes will meet twice in the final three weeks of the season. In Week 15, the Buccaneers (8-5) have a chance to solidify their playoff position on the road against the hapless Falcons (4-9), who have emerged victorious in six of the seven previous meetings.

Brady-led Bucs can finally flip the script on Falcons

Tom Brady has a much different history against the Atlanta Falcons than his new franchise does. Brady, having spent the previous two decades playing for New England in the AFC, has limited experience against Atlanta — but he has made the most of his opportunities.

In five games, Brady is 5-0 with 11 touchdowns, one interception and 288.4 passing yards per game against the Falcons. You might remember one of those games in particular: Super Bowl 51, when Brady led the Patroits back from a 28-3 deficit to win football’s ultimate prize.

With his new team in Tampa Bay, the current stakes are much lower. The Buccaneers have dropped six of their past seven matchups against the Falcons, but they have a chance Sunday to turn things around and potentially lock down a postseason berth.

With that in mind, the Buccaneers are 6.5-point favorites (-106 at 888Sport) on various betting sites. Yes, Tampa Bay is on the road, but Atlanta is just 2-5 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season (straight up and against the spread).

And don’t underestimate the varied mindsets of football teams at this stage in the season. Tampa Bay knows it has playoff positioning on the line, with an outside shot at the NFC South title still in grasp.

Meanwhile, what is Atlanta playing for? Pride and preservation of jobs, perhaps. Nothing else. Last week, the Falcons lost for a third time in four games. They also suffered their sixth one-score loss of the year. That’s a sign of a team that is crawling to the finish line.

Atlanta is awful at defending the pass (281.8 passing yards allowed per game, 30th in NFL), but they have a nice air attack of their own when top receiver Julio Jones is healthy. Jones missed last week with a nagging hamstring injury and is questionable for Sunday. His final designation could move the line, so watch for that.

For now, the Brady-led Bucs are the team to put your confidence in.

Stats

  • Tampa Bay is 5-5 ATS in its past 10
  • The UNDER has cashed in five of the Buccaneers’ past nine games
  • Atlanta is 4-6 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The UNDER has cashed in eight of the Falcons’ past 10 games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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