3 key matchups: Falcons at Bucs

Falcons running back Mike Davis picks up a first down on the game's opening drive against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
Caption
Falcons running back Mike Davis picks up a first down on the game's opening drive against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

Here are three matchups to watch when the Falcons face the Bucs at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium:

Falcons LG Jalen Mayfield or Drew Dalman vs. Eagles DT Ndamukong Suh: Both rookies made their NFL debuts in the opener Sunday against the Eagles. As expected, they both struggled and committed false-start penalties. Coach Arthur Smith said “all things are on the table at left guard” for this week. It will be interesting to see if the staff stays with Mayfield or switches to Dalman. Suh continues to play at a high level and has Vita Vea next to him. Vea also requires a double-team on some plays. Vea came back after suffering an ankle injury in the fifth game last season and helped the Bucs on their playoff run to the Super Bowl title.

Falcons NCB Isaiah Oliver vs. Bucs WR Antonio Brown: Brown got loose against the Cowboys for five catches for 121 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown catch, in the Bucs’ season opener. Brown, who played out of the slot, had the key touchdown catch in the Bucs 31-27 win over the Falcons on Dec. 20 Mercedes-Benz Stadium last season. Nickel back Oliver will have his hands full with Brown.

Falcons RB Mike Davis vs. Bucs LB Lavonte David: Davis, who had 15 rushes and was targeted six times in the passing game, is a key cog in the attack. Davis had 77 scrimmage yards (49 rush, 23 receiving) in Week 1 against the Eagles. He had eight catches for 74 yards in his only career game at Tampa Bay last season with the Panthers. David, who’s in his 10th season in the NFL, had 11 tackles against the Cowboys. David has had at least 101 tackles in eight of his previous nine seasons.

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