FBG says: Great matchup. Perhaps the Falcons indeed pressed reset over their Week 9 bye. If so, it's fair to expect massive things ahead for Matt Ryan and the passing game. Ryan was producing on an elite level (310 yards and 2.1 touchdowns per game) prior to the bye, albeit with shaky efficiency for a 1-7 team. But last week, he shredded the Panthers' strong pass defense for 311 yards and a touchdown over just 31 attempts. Ryan wasn't asked to do much in the blowout win, but he found Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on deep balls for gains of 48, 36, and 34 while building the lead. Jones and Ridley are explosive downfield targets, and Ryan has long had success looking their way deep on play action. Jones has recorded 79+ yards in 5 straight games, though he hasn't found the end zone since Week 3. Jones has never been a very effective target in the red zone, but remains an elite fantasy play every week, in every matchup. If tight end Austin Hooper can return Sunday - early reports are positive - then Ryan will have been his dynamic security blanket. Even with a game and a half spent on the shelf, Hooper sits tied for second among NFL tight ends with 56 receptions, and his 6 touchdowns match Mark Andrews for the lead. This attack looks poised to pick up where it left off in Week 7, but with real momentum and a glorious matchup this Sunday.
The Tampa Bay pass defense simply can't get out of its own way. They've allowed the league's second-most yards and touchdowns through the air, and it's been a fairly consistent downpour. Six of their 10 opponents have topped 300 yards, and each of the last 8 have thrown multiple scores. (The latter list includes the likes of Daniel Jones, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen, and Ryan Tannehill.) The Buccaneers have big problems in the secondary, where waiving Vernon Hargreaves didn't pay any dividends last week. With such a lack of coverage talent in play, Drew Brees had little difficulty finding Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to move the chains. Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are liabilities on the outside, while the linebackers and safeties struggle mightily against the pass. Even with the pass rush clicking nicely, there's just not enough on the back end to slow most opponents. The Falcons' rebounding offense is set up beautifully here.