NFL betting action will take off this weekend and once the dust is settled half the teams in the league will no longer be undefeated. There are a variety of games that fans can tune in for or even wager on. One heated matchup that will over those opportunities is the contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. Neither team qualified for the playoffs last season, but they’ll be eager to start 2016 by coming one step closer to their goals, although, ‘goals’ has a completely different definition for each team.
The Falcons started the 2015 season red hot by going 5-0, Atlanta’s best start in 4 years. They would quickly lose steam however and were barely able to win 3 games for the rest of the season. The Falcons went into the 2015 season with brand new coach Dan Quinn who was brought along after Mike Smith was fired for failing to make the playoffs. Finishing the season at 8-8 was enough success to validate Quinn. However, the pressure will be on this year to lead Atlanta – a team considered by the NFL betting odds to be a serious playoff contender just a few years ago – to the postseason. The NFL isn’t known for its endearing affection towards unsuccessful coaches, if you want a prime example, take a look at what the Buccaneers did to Lovie Smith.
Lovie Smith, most commonly known for taking the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI, was brought in as Tampa Bay’s head coach for the 2014 season. In his first year Smith posted a 2-14 season which was 2 games short of tying their 2013 record. In his second season Smith posted a 6-10 record, but 4 games wasn’t enough to convince Tampa Bay’s management who decided to can Smith after just two years. Dirk Koetter, who incidentally served as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator from 2012-2014, was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach. However, Koetter shouldn’t feel too secure about his position and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an NFL betting line on whether Koetter will last more or less than two years. Greg Schiano, the man responsible for coaching the hot mess that is the Buccaneers before Smith, was fired after just two seasons at the helm. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay’s head coach before Schiano, only got three years to prove himself before he was eventually let go. Needless to say Tampa Bay seems anxious to find a coach who is the right fit, but they might be better off giving their coaches ample time to actually make a difference instead of just firing them after 2 seasons.
Atlanta’s goals revolve around making the playoffs, while the Buccaneers revolve around making sure their head coach isn’t fired. If there’s one man who will be in the hot seat as early as Week1 it’s Dirk Koetter. One thing Koetter can be sure if that the fans will be watching to see if he can perform a miracle, or at least watch him come crashing down. Let’s check the odds across the betting sportsbooks to see what kind of chances Koetter will have Week 1 against the Falcons.
Week 1 September 11th
Buccaneers +2 ½ (-110) 47 ½ (-110) +120
Falcons -2 ½ (-110) 47 ½ (-110) -140
The Falcons are listed as the favorites but they’ll be without a couple of dirty birds on Sunday. First round draft pick Keanu Neal will be out as well as third-year linebacker Tyler Starr. However, Matt Ryan, by himself should be enough to lead the Falcons over the lowly Bucs.