After Back To Back Losses, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Look To Right The Ship Against The Defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos
A tough home opening day loss saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mount a late comeback, only to have inclement weather slow their momentum and ultimately have them fall short to drop to 1-2 on the season. The NFC South, however is still wide open as the Panthers also lost, and the Atlanta Falcons sit alone on top of the division with a 2-1 record, a team the Bucs beat on opening day.
The Bucs welcome to Raymond James the defending Super Bowl Champions this week, a game that could make a huge statement to the league that this Bucs squad is for real, despite their slow start. This will be the 9th time these two franchise’s will do battle, and the Broncos hold a 6-2 series edge including taking four of the last five.
Buccaneers Offense Vs. Broncos Defense
This match up on paper leaves much to be desired. The strength of the Buccaneers offense this season has been the passing game. Ranked 6th in the league in passing yards, Jamesis Winston and company have had their fair share of success. A big part of that has been the success of Mike Evans, who has averaged a touch over 100 yards and a touchdown per game. Evans will be tested on Sunday as he will be covered by former Buccaneer Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. The battle between Evans and these two could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. With these players appearing to be on top of their games in this young season, this matchup will be fun to watch.
The Buccaneers have only averaged 86 yards per game this season, good for 24th in the league. The weakness of the Broncos defense is they have allowed success to opposing runners, as they rank 27th in the league at 127.7 yards per game allowed on the ground. With the absence of Doug Martin, Charles Sims will need to step up his game, and the running game needs to be successful to allow the offense to sustain drives and maintain momentum against a stout defense.
Luke Stocker looks like he will also sit out this match up nursing an ankle injury. This is a knock for the ground attack as the Bucs will miss the blocking ability that Stocker brings to the tight end position. Sims absolutely has to find his groove in order for the offense to see any sort of success on the offensive side of things, and allow the defense to remain fresh throughout the game.
Tackle Donovan Smith will face a tough match up in this one as well as he will be facing the pass rushing attack of Von Miller. Last years’ Super Bowl MVP has been off to a hot start with five sacks and his first three games. The missing presence of DeMarcus Ware would probably be crippling to most defenses, but with Von on the field, the Broncos defense has to be respected as on of the top pressure units in the NFL. If Smith and the boys can’t keep Winston of his back, it’s going to be a long game.
Buccaneers Defense Vs. Broncos Defense
The defensive side of the Buccaneers seem to match up well against the Broncos offense. The weakness of the Broncos is their passing attack, ranking 20th in the league. That’s not to say Brent Grimes and Alterraun will have their hands full covering Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but for a unit ranking 20th against the pass, the Bucs could easily quiet the critics by stopping Trevor Siemian this Sunday.
The best way to slow down a young and inexperienced quarterback? Apply pressure. Something the Bucs addressed this off season, the Bucs have to do a better job of getting after the quarterback to create turnover opportunities. Problem is they will be without their prized off-season signing on the line Robert Ayers Jr., as he continues to rehab a ankle injury. With offensive tackle Donald Stephenson more than likely not suiting up for the Broncos, the table is set for the Bucs defensive line to step up. Noah Spence should see extended time in Ayers absence. Gerald McCoy will need to find a way to penetrate the offensive line often and let Trevor Siemian know he is there all afternoon.
After going missing against the Cardinals two weeks ago, Lavonte David re-emerged last week against the Rams, and was one of the few bright spots on the defense. The Bucs will need him to once again step up his game, and single handily need him to shadow C.J. Anderson’s movements and keep him in check. Although the Broncos offense did find success last week through the air, with a young, inexperienced quarterback behind center, the way to beat the broncos is to shut down the running game, and that will start and end with Lavonte David.
Watch the Buccaneers take on the Denver Broncos today at 4:05 P.M. Can’t watch the game? The Scrum Sports has you covered! Follow us on Twitter @thescrumsports to receive live updates of all of today’s action!