The battle for NFC South is heating up at the moment. Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints can clinch the crown if they win and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose in Week 15. The Bucs start as favourites against Atlanta Falcons this weekend.
But can Matt Ryan’s team pull off an unlikely win at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Georgia? Here’s a detailed look at both teams, along with injury updates and Week 15 Game Day predictions.
The Falcons have lost both their last two NFL outings on the trot. They start as clear underdogs in Week 15. However, they are more than capable of capping off a disappointing season with a win against a strong Buccaneers outfit. They are on a 4-9 record.
Quarterback Matt Ryan had an underwhelming outing against the Chargers last week, throwing three interceptions in the 20-17 loss. The Falcons will need their backup wide receivers to step up in the absence of the legendary Julio Jones. The likes of Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and RB Todd Gurley will need to put up a strong display in order to break the formidable Buccaneers But they will need a strong defensive performance to put a stop to the decisive Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense.
The Buccaneers are set to miss out on the NFC South title. But that does not mean they are out of the race to make the NFL playoffs in post-season. Tom Brady led the Bucs to a 26-14 win against NFC North big boys Minnesota Vikings in Week 14.
The veteran quarterback will need some help from star wideouts Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Scott Miller to break the Falcons defense. The likes of Ndamukong Suh and Shaquil Barrett will be key for the visitors if they want to come away with a win this weekend.
DT Marlon Davidson – Knee
WR Julio Jones – Hamstring
CB Darqueze Dennard – Quad
S Ricardo Allen – Concussion
T Kaleb McGary – Personal
G James Carpenter – Groin
Despite their inconsistent displays in recent weeks, the Buccaneers should comfortably secure a win in Week 15. Coach Bruce Arians will want his players to take control of their playoff fate by delaying the Saints’ NFC South title party by another week or so. This one promises to be a good watch!