5 stats that matter as Falcons face Buccaneers

The Falcons (6-9) will face the Buccaneers (5-10) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. 

The Bucs have lost three consecutive games and seven of their past nine. 

Here are five stats that set up the matchup:

1. Series history. This will be the 51st regular-season meeting between the teams. The Falcons lead the series 26-24. The Falcons won the last meeting 34-29 on Oct. 14. 

The Falcons won the last meeting in Tampa, a 24-21 victory Dec. 18, 2017. 

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2. Turnover kings. The Bucs don’t take care of the football. They had two turnovers converted into touchdowns in the 27-20 loss to Dallas on Sunday. The Bucs are a minus-18 in turnover differential, which ranks 31 of 32 in the NFL.

3. Interception king. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston and Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles each has thrown 57 interceptions over the past four seasons, to lead the league. Winston has thrown 13 interceptions this season. Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter noted that Winston took his check-down receiver 13 times against Dallas. He did force a couple of throws into coverage, but didn’t have an interception.

4. Yards per play. The Falcons average 6.14 yards per play in 2018, which is the sixth-most in the NFL and currently the second-highest yards per play average in franchise history. 

5. Moving the chains. Wide receiver Julio Jones has 73 receptions that have led to first downs, which ranks second in the NFL. Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins has 74.

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