Bucs (2-2) at Fal­cons (1-4)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NEWS - Tim Weaver

Sun­day, 1 p.m. ET, MercedesBenz Sta­dium, At­lanta

TV: Fox

Danny Sheri­dan’s line: Fal­cons by 3 1 ⁄2

Buc­ca­neers’ keys to vic­tory: Tampa Bay is com­ing off a bye week and will be start­ing QB Jameis Win­ston, who has thrown 12 ca­reer touch­down passes against At­lanta; his best against any other team is five. The Buc­ca­neers need their ta­lented pass-catch­ing group to take ad­van­tage of a Fal­cons se­condary that is miss­ing both of its start­ing safeties. Tampa’s de­fen­sive line will try to pres­sure Fal­cons QB Matt Ryan, who was un­der con­stant pres­sure against Pitts­burgh. The crit­i­cal el­e­ment for the Bucs is im­prove­ment in the se­condary; over the first four games of the sea­son, they al­lowed more pass­ing touch­downs (13) than any other team.

Fal­cons’ keys to vic­tory: The of­fen­sive line has to do a much bet­ter job pro­tect­ing Ryan than it did in the Week 5 41-17 loss to the Steel­ers. At­lanta also should look to get WR Julio Jones more in­volved in the red zone; he has 34 re­cep­tions and 55 tar­gets through five games but has yet to score a touch­down. De­fen­sively, the Fal­cons sorely miss LB Deion Jones, and their tack­ling has not been ac­cept­able since he went on in­jured re­serve.

Matchup to watch: Buc­ca­neers WR Mike Evans vs. Fal­cons CB Des­mond Tr­u­fant. Evans’ size makes him a dif­fi­cult matchup for any corner­back. He is 3 inches taller and has 40 pounds on Tr­u­fant, who can­not al­low him to get over the top.

Who wins? Tampa Bay al­ways seems to bring its A game against At­lanta, and the Fal­cons’ spirit might be bro­ken af­ter such a dif­fi­cult start to the sea­son.

Buc­ca­neers, 30-27

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