Falcons vs. Buccaneers Predictions Week 2 - NFL Pick of the Day
The Falcons got the Arthur Smith and post-Julio-Jones eras of their franchise off to a highly inauspicious start in Week 1 in front of their home crowd. Atlanta was dominated in every phase of the game by the Eagles, which notched a 32-6 win going away with a 17-0 advantage in the second half.
The Buccaneers cut the ribbon on the 2021 NFL season Thursday night with the help of the Cowboys, with the two NFC squads putting on a dazzling offensive showcase befitting the primetime showdown. The benefits of having a completely incumbent group on offense were immediately reaped in the narrow 31-29 Tampa Bay win, with Tom Brady flashing excellent chemistry with Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski throughout the night.
Atlanta and Tampa Bay now meet for the first of their usual pair of divisional meetings after the Bucs swept the series in 2020. Both contests occurred within the last three weeks of the season, as Tampa Bay notched a 31-27 comeback win in Atlanta in Week 15 and then withstood a Falcons rally in Week 17 to secure a 44-27 victory at home.
Let’s look ahead and give our official prediction and betting tips for this NFL Week 2 matchup in the NFL pick of the day series.
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Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction
The Falcons were expected to be one of the poorest squads in the NFC going into the season, and their season-opening performance did nothing to dispel that notion. Atlanta’s offense appeared stuck in the mud with Calvin Ridley as the lead receiver and not much else behind him. Even fourth overall pick Kyle Pitts fell flat with a quiet 4-31 line.
Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson did look serviceable as a 1-2 backfield punch, but their problem in Week 2 is trying to make inroads against the Buccaneers’ brick wall of a defensive front. Ezekiel Elliott found out how fruitless an endeavor like that can be in the regular-season opener while averaging just three yards per carry on 11 attempts.
The Falcons defense looked no better than the offense in Week 1. Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, and Jalen Reagor all had their way to varying degrees with Atlanta, and Dallas Goedert got into the end zone as well on one of his four catches.
The Falcons’ inability to mount any real pressure on Hurts, as they hit him just once, albeit for a sack, spells plenty of trouble again in Week 2 if the lack of push is replicated against Brady.
On the Buccaneers’ side, the surefire Hall of Famer and his seemingly endless array of offensive talent was hitting on close to all cylinders against the Cowboys in the opener. The fact Tampa Bay’s offensive group remained together and entered this season with 20 games of experience together in Bruce Arians’ take-no-prisoners attack is significant trouble for the rest of the league.
The Bucs vaunted defense did give up more yardage and points than it’s accustomed to, especially through the air. However, Matt Ryan is certainly no Dak Prescott, while the speedy Ridley isn’t quite on Amari Cooper’s level, especially with a healthy heaping of defensive attention on him.
Moreover, the trouble the Falcons had in protecting Ryan against Philadelphia, in which they allowed three sacks and got him hit nine times overall in Week 1, could exponentially ratchet up against Tampa Bay’s relentless pass rush.
The Bucs had to sweat out that four-point win in Atlanta last season before notching the more comfortable home win in Week 17. Given the disparity in talent level here, I like the Bucs to exceed the latter result, and that’s likely with them taking their foot off the gas late.
Betting Pick: Buccaneers 35, Falcons 14
Falcons vs. Buccaneers Best Bets
Best Bet: Buccaneers -12.5 (-110) at DraftKings
In accordance with my game prediction, I like the Buccaneers to exceed this spread comfortably, which is reflected in the NFL gameday odds.
In addition to their aforementioned 17-point win over Atlanta at Raymond James Stadium to close out the regular season in 2020, the Bucs won three other home games by more than 13 points before doing it again in Super Bowl LV versus the Chiefs.
Tampa Bay was 6-3 ATS overall at home last season, while Atlanta was just 4-4 versus the number on the road. Meanwhile, the Falcons were also 2-4 ATS in NFC South matchups.
Best Bet: Under 52.5 Points (-113) at BetRivers
While I can see the Buccaneers doing their part to keep the scoreboard humming here, I envision the Falcons, which are still trying to get a good handle on the offensive system installed by Smith, unable to do much of the same. The defensive matchup can quickly render Atlanta one-dimensional, which could lead to a world of trouble for Ryan and his leaky offensive line.
The over was 4-5 in the Bucs’ home games last season and postseason and sported 3-5 and 2-4 marks in Atlanta’s road and division contests, respectively. It will likely be close, but I still see the total falling just short of 53.
Best Bet: Buccaneers To Win By 19-24 Points (+475) at DraftKings
Given my game prediction of a 35-14 Buccaneers win, I think this is a nifty wager to consider at an excellent price. Nailing down a reasonably tight margin of victory is naturally always a risky proposition to a degree, but there’s certainly at least a modicum of increased confidence when there’s an expected blowout and plenty of talent on the favorites to make good on a lopsided win.
Atlanta’s 26-point loss at home to open things up in 2021 also further supports the notion of them being perfectly capable of getting rolled by the defending champions on the road.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Same Game Parlay Picks
Buccaneers -12.5 and Under 52.5 Points (+106) at BetRivers
Given my game and totals prediction, this sets up as an appealing play that allows us to get around the massive price on the straight moneyline for Tampa Bay and instead puts us at plus money.
For more NFL betting tips, check out our NFL Week 2 Best Bets & Predictions and NFL pick of the day.