Special to Sports Talk Florida
After a close 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys in week one, the Buccaneers are looking to be victorious again. However, they’d probably like the margin of victory to be wider this time. While the Falcons currently aren’t a team that many would view as contenders, they’re still a division rival. Let’s take a look at how Tampa Bay can beat Atlanta in week two.
Keeping An Eye On Kyle Pitts
While tight end Kyle Pitts didn’t have his breakout game in week one, it’s only a matter of time. Pitts was the fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft. Although he’s listed as a tight end on the Falcons roster, the majority of fans know that he’s just an oversized receiver. It will be up to Buccaneers safeties Antoine Winfield Jr and Jordan Whitehead to prevent Pitts from getting the ball. Additional help from linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David may also be needed.
Locking Up Calvin Ridley
In 2020, Ridley became one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL, so much so that the Falcons felt comfortable trading away franchise superstar Julio Jones. Now, Ridley is Atlanta’s WR1, and he’s looking to have an even better season in 2021. With Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting out due to a dislocated elbow, this challenge becomes even harder than it would’ve been originally. If Carlton Davis or Jamel Dean can put a stop to Ridley’s explosiveness, then the Buccaneers defense is in good hands.
Identify The Better Running Back
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians recently announced that Ronald Jones would be the starting RB against Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be the most productive back on the field. In week one, both Jones and Leonard Fournette struggled to an extent, but Fournette proved to be more effective.
It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out for the rest of the season, specifically whether or not the starter will change based on the matchup. The more likely scenario is that Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich are waiting a few more weeks to name a regular starter, as they want to give both backs equal opportunities and playing time.