The Falcons run game has been abysmal this year, ranking #29 in the league while averaging just 3.61 yards per carry. And not just in terms of efficiency, but also total yards, as they've managed just 82 yards per game on the ground, (#4-worst in football). The Falcons lack of a mobile quarterback has also been an issue. Quarterbacks average nearly 2 extra yards per carry over running backs, and that's how the most efficient teams often move the ball on the ground. But just 3.9% of the Falcons rushing attempts have come through their quarterback, #6-least in the league. Teams struggling to get the run game going can get creative and involve their wide receivers via jet sweeps and other types of misdirection (which tend to gain more yards than your typical running back handoff), but the Falcons haven’t done that, ranking just #32 in the league with 0.0% of their rush attempts going to wideouts.
The outlook for Atlanta may be gloomy this week, as the Buccaneers enter with the #3-best rush defense in the league, holding opponents to just 3.84 yards per carry. In terms of total yards, they check in at #1 and just 77 yards per game. Their run defense has been so potent in part because of their defensive tackles, which as a unit rank as the #5-best in terms of run-stopping.
Now, the run game is generally less important than the pass game, but both are important in order for a football team to thrive, and given how this matchup sets up, Atlanta may have to rely on their pass game in order to win. At the very least, though, we can say that Tampa Bay's defense has a decided advantage over them on the ground, which could make it easier for their coaching staff to game-plan for the Falcons.