NFL Week 15 Pick: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 6:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 6:51 PM UTC

Second-to-last MNF game of the season and ESPN probably wishes the hugely disappointing Bucs weren’t part of the telecast. Survivor Pick: Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6, 47.5)

Atlanta goes for the season sweep. Back in Week 12, the Falcons were 10.5-point home favorites over the Bucs and won 34-20. Julio Jones hauled in 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns in maybe the second-best game of his career. Jones grabbed a 51-yard scoring pass from fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu and went 25 yards for a TD on a throw from Matt Ryan. It was Jones’ third game of his career with at least 250 yards. No other player in NFL history has more than one game with 250 yards receiving. Tevin Coleman, filling in for a concussed Devonta Freeman, rushed for 97 yards and two TDs. Jameis Winston was out injured then and Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 26 of 44 for 283 yards, setting up a pair of short touchdown runs by Peyton Barber. The Bucs made things interesting late, but Fitzpatrick's pass on fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 18 with just over 7 minutes remaining was incomplete and then Atlanta went down and scored the clinching TD. This game is all about motivation. The Falcons have it all – if they win out, they will repeat as NFC South champions but a loss could keep them out of the playoffs altogether – while the Bucs have none. I don’t think a bad Florida team will upset a 2016 Super Bowl finalist for the second Monday in a row. Get this before it potentially rises to -7.

  • Favorite is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 meetings.
  • Buccaneers are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 vs. NFC.
Free NFL Pick: Falcons -6Best Line Offered: The Greek

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Since 2014, the Bucs are just 1-5 in night games. In their past 20 games played in the month of December, the Bucs have gone just 4-16. The Falcons have gone 5-1 in their past six prime-time games. Tampa’s defense likely will be missing its best player in five-time Pro Bowl tackle Gerald McCoy. In last week’s 24-21 home loss to the Lions, McCoy suffered a biceps injury in the first quarter. His absence played a part in the Bucs' inability to get to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who dropped back 44 times but was not sacked and hit only three times. The Bucs have had trouble getting to the QB all season. McCoy's 5.0 sacks lead the team and give him 38.5 QB takedowns since 2013, the most by any defensive tackle in that span. McCoy hasn’t been ruled out for the year as of this writing but it’s likely – at this point, there’s no reason for the Bucs to even put him out there. It’s possible the Falcons will be without Coleman as he left last Thursday’s win over the Saints with a concussion but all that extra time between games can only help him. Freeman is back healthy now.

  • Over is 10-0-1 in Falcons last 11 vs. a team with a losing record.
  • Over is 11-5 in Buccaneers last 16 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
Free NFL Pick: Over 47.5Best Line Offered: GT Bets

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