NFL Game Previews: Week 17 Matchups

NFL Game Previews: Week 17 Matchups

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Atlanta (+6.5) at Tampa Bay, o/u 50.5 – Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Neither of these teams has a whole lot to play for — the Bucs are already locked into a wild-card spot, though a win (or a Rams loss) gives them the No. 5 seed and a date with the NFC East winner, while the Falcons would sneak into the No. 3 overall pick in next year's draft with a loss and a Texans win — but neither coach seems inclined to sit his veteran QB, which offers a nice ocean of stability in an otherwise tumultuous Week 17. Matt Ryan hasn't had Julio Jones to throw to in three weeks and Atlanta's lost all three games, but the team is 3-6 when Julio suits up this year so it's not like he's been the key to victory. Ito Smith also took over as the No. 1 RB the last month, but he's only managed 163 scrimmage yards and zero TDs during that four-game stretch and is now dealing with a rib injury. Whether Smith's absence would mean Raheem Morris turns back to Todd Gurley, or gives a different younger back like Qadree Ollison a long look, isn't clear. Whoever gets the totes probably won't have much luck against the Tampa Bay run defense anyway. The Bucs have won three straight since their late bye, including a 31-27 victory in Atlanta in Week 15, and they've been close to dominant in doing so, outscoring the opposition 104-48. Of

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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