NFL Football

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Atlanta 3 7 10 7 27
Tampa Bay 10 13 0 21 44
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , January 3, 2021
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida  Weather: 65°, Cloudy  Attendance: 16,009

Falcons-Buccaneers Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  1. The Falcons' 17-14 loss to the Chiefs last week was their fourth consecutive loss, all of which have been decided by one score. Atlanta has eight losses by seven points or fewer this season, the most such losses in a single season in franchise history, and two more than any other team in 2020.
  2. Calvin Ridley has 100+ receiving yards in four straight games, tied with Andre Rison and Terance Mathis for the second-longest streak in team history, trailing only Julio Jones' six-game streak in 2018. Ridley leads the NFL with eight 100-yard games this year, the third most in a single season in franchise history.
  3. The Buccaneers posted their second-largest win in team history last week with a 47-7 victory in Detroit (41-0 vs. Chicago in 2000), clinching their first playoff berth since 2007. Tampa Bay had 410 yards of offense in the first half in the win, the most by any team in the last 10 seasons.
  4. Tom Brady passed for 348 yards and four touchdowns in the win, all of which came in the first half. The 348 yards are his most in a first half in his career, and his four TD passes gave him 36 for the year, a new franchise record for a single season.
  5. Mike Evans had two touchdown catches in the win, giving him 13 for the year (franchise single-season record) and 61 for his career. He is the sixth-youngest player in NFL history to reach 60 career touchdown receptions.
  6. The Buccaneers beat the Falcons in Week 15, 31-27, but have not beaten them at home since 2015, the last year that Tampa Bay swept the season series with Atlanta.
Team Comparison

Tampa Bay
24.6 Points 29.9
290.3 Pass Yds 291.8
93.7 Rush Yds 95.0
20 Takeaways 23
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Bruce Arians is not ready to reflect on the challenge of transforming the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into winners.

With the 68-year-old coach and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady leading the way, the Bucs (10-5) are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. They enter Sunday's regular-season finale against the Atlanta Falcons as one of the hottest teams in the NFC.

A fourth consecutive win would clinch their best finish in 15 years, as well as send them into the postseason as a No. 5 seed.

"I think our guys made a commitment in August to each other, that if we beat the virus, we'd have a chance. If we stayed healthy, we'd have a chance to beat some teams that didn't," Arians said.

"This is a big game coming up - a chance to keep that five seed and go 11-5," the coach added. "I think we'll think about all that when we can look in the rearview mirror. Right now, we're still looking ahead. It's not really a time to reflect yet."

Brady said it's vital to finish strong, continuing to build momentum for the playoffs.

"We were 7-5 at the bye week and then won three straight," the 43-year-old quarterback said. "It's been really important, and we've got another big one ... against Atlanta. Whatever happens after that is bonus for all of us."

The Falcons (4-10) are wrapping up a season that claimed the jobs of former coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after an 0-5 start. The team has gone 4-5 under interim coach Raheem Morris, including a 31-27 loss at home to Tampa Bay two weeks ago.

The Bucs trailed by 17 before Brady led scoring drives on five consecutive second-half possessions to win the game.

Atlanta played reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City tough before falling 17-14 on the road last week.

Morris said one of the things he'll remember most about a season in which the coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges on and off the field for all teams is the consistent effort of the Falcons in the face of adversity.

"These guys play hard every single week," Morris said. "You can question a lot of things about a team, you can question a lot about talent, you can question a lot about decision making, you cannot question these guys' effort."


Defensive end Dante Fowler struggled after signing a $45 million, three-year contract with the Falcons in free agency. He was coming off an 11 1/2-sack season with the Los Angeles Rams, but was slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries in addition to spending time on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

"We have to get him going," Morris said.

"I was pretty banged up this year, but that's no excuse. I'm still held to a standard. This year I don't feel like I played up to my standards," said Fowler, who has two sacks. "Whether I was hurt or not, I can play better and I will get better."


Count quarterback Matt Ryan among the Falcons hoping the team brings back center Alex Mack, a six-time Pro Bowl selection whose contract expires after the season.

"He's meant a ton. He's an awesome teammate. He gives you everything he's got mentally, physically, emotionally. Every ounce of what he has, he's given to our team week in and week out," Ryan said.

"I've been lucky to have spent five years with him. It goes by quickly," Ryan added. "I feel like he just got here."

Mack is on the injury report after missing the Kansas City game with a concussion. He was a limited participant in practice early in the week.


Despite clinching a playoff berth already, Arians said the Bucs will play to win the finale and clinch the No. 5 seed in the NFC.

"When you make these decisions - and I've been a part of both sides - that five and six seed are different. I don't care what anybody says, they're different. And, 10-6 (vs.) 11-5 are different," Arians said. "I've been 10-6 a bunch, been 10-6 and didn't make the playoffs. Eleven and five is special. I think our guys are more than ready to go."


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Updated December 31, 2020

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