It’s the penultimate Monday night game of the season when Atlanta visits NFC South rival Tampa Bay. The Falcons know that if they win out, they will repeat as NFC South champions. But one loss could keep the Falcons out of the playoffs altogether. The Falcons are solid NFL betting favorites over Tampa Bay. Let’s see if it will be enough to cover the NFL spread.
MNF Week 15 Preview: Falcons at Buccaneers NFL Spread & Game Info92.9 The Game (Atlanta) / (Tampa Bay)Stream Option: NFL LiveOpening NFL Spread: Falcons -6 (48)
- Clear: 21°C/70°F
- Humidity: 90%
- Precipitation: 6%
- Wind: 1 mph WSW
- Cloud Cover: 11%
- Type of Stadium: Open
Last MeetingAtlanta was a 10.5-point favorite in Week 12 and beat Tampa Bay 34-20. Tampa Bay rallied from 21 points down to get to 27-20, and had the football inside Atlanta’s red zone before a failed fourth-down attempt. The Falcons took the ensuing possession back in the other direction for a final touchdown and a slightly misleading 34-20 final. The main reason the Buccaneers did not get that win in Atlanta was wide receiver Julio Jones, who went crazy with 12 receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Jones had just one catch for nine yards on three targets in the first quarter. The Bucs were without starting QB Jameis Winston then.
Why Bet on Atlanta?The Falcons could win the NFC South, be a wild-card team or miss the playoffs altogether. They got a huge win last Thursday over New Orleans, 20-17. Deion Jones made a leaping interception in the end zone with 1:25 remaining. Matt Ryan shook off three interceptions to guide the Falcons to Matt Bryant’s 52-yard field goal with 3:49 to go, snapping a 17-all tie. Ryan had tied the game with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu with 9:55 remaining, finishing 15 of 27 for 221 yards.Since 2014, the Bucs are just 1-5 in night games. The Bucs are also pretty bad in December. In their past 20 games played in the month of December, the Bucs have gone just 4-16 straight-up. Overall, Tampa is 3-9-1 ATS this season, which is tied for the second worst mark in the NFL. The Falcons are 5-1 in their past six primetime games. Atlanta is 6-3 ATS in divisional games since the beginning of last season, which is one of the best marks in the NFL in the span.The status of running back Tevin Coleman is still in doubt as he remains in the concussion protocol. He sustained the concussion in last Thursday night’s win over New Orleans. And the Monday night matchup with Tampa Bay gives Coleman a little more time than normal to recover. But every Falcons player who has sustained a concussion this season has missed a least one game. If Coleman is out, that means a heavier workload for Devonta Freeman in his third game back from a concussion. Coleman’s been a significant asset to Atlanta’s offense this season recording 838 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns.Adrian Clayborn, the team’s sack leader, missed some practice this week due to a hamstring injury. Sanu, the team leader in TD receptions, has been limited by knee injury. But both should play. In addition, both starting guards are banged up, with Andy Levitre unlikely to play. Ben Garland will continue to fill in at left guard.
Why Bet on Tampa Bay?The Bucs have dropped three straight but could have won the past two. Tight end O.J. Howard, the Buccaneers’ first-round pick, has picked up his pace in the second half of the season as he continues to learn more about the pro game every week. In his first nine games, Howard caught 14 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. In Tampa Bay’s last four contests, he has added 11 catches for 175 yards and two more scores. Only eight NFL tight ends have more receiving yards than Howard in the last four weeks, and only three have more touchdowns.In their last six games, the Falcons have played four teams that either are or recently were among the projected playoff field in the NFC. Now, with a game against the 4-9 Bucs standing between Atlanta and a two-game stretch against the Saints and Panthers, this could be a trap game. Tampa’s roster is still comprised of NFL players who are as talented as any in the league.Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy left last week’s game because of a right biceps injury and did not return. He also underwent an MRI on Monday, but the team has been mum on his status. The defensive line has accounted for 15 sacks this year, the fewest in the NFL, and five of them have come from McCoy. To make matters worse, their backup Clinton McDonald, has been out because of a back injury. The Falcons are preparing for Robert Ayers to fill McCoy’s position.In addition to McCoy, the Buccaneers’ most impactful defender this season has been linebacker Lavonte David, who leads the team in tackles and has five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. David has missed practice this week due to a hamstring injury. But the secondary could be fortified. Safety T.J. Ward, who has been in the NFL’s concussion protocol since suffering the injury in the first 12 game against Atlanta, will play. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and safety Josh Robinson are trying to return from hamstring injuries that have kept them out for four and two games,
Latest NFL Spread Trends
- Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games
- Atlanta is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games
- The total went UNDER in 7 of Atlanta’s last 10 games
- Tampa Bay is 2-9-1 ATS in the last 12 games
- Tampa Bay is 2-8 SU in the last 10 games
- The total went UNDER in 8 of Tampa Bay’s last 9 games at home