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Loading The Cannons: Week 11 Bucs at Dolphins

In the Week 1 game that wasn’t, the Bucs head down to Miami to take on the Dolphins. While the Bucs welcome back their star receiver, they are still without Jameis Winston.

The Bucs finally got off the schneid last week with the help of the defense’s six sacks and, to-this-date, team MVP Patrick Murray.  The Dolphins, on the other hand, looked like a mess in their Monday night loss to the Panthers.

Keys to the Game:

The Buccaneers defense had their best showing on the season last week. Coming into last week the Bucs had only recorded eight sacks on the entire season. At the end of Week 10 they had almost doubled that total by recording six against the Jets. Tampa must continue to put pressure on the quarterback, in this case, Jay Cutler, who has been known to make a mistake or two.

Lavonte David continues to be a force.  In seven games this year, David has four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.  He’s got a nose for the football and keeping him rolling will only benefit the Bucs’ defense.

Filling in for the injured Jameis Winston (shoulder), this will be the second consecutive start for Quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last week he wasn’t very good – but he wasn’t terrible. The Harvard grad completed only 50% of his passes, but on the bright side, he established a connection with DeSean Jackson. Jackson was on the receiving end of 82 of Fitzpatrick’s 187 passing yards.

Fitz has to complete a higher percentage of his passes to keep the offensive drives going.  In what seems to be a recurring theme this season, he also must take better care of the ball. He threw one interception and had another called back due to a penalty on the Jets.

If Tampa wants to have success they have to start scoring early and often

The Bucs have had their fair share of offensive struggles this season.  There’s no denying that.  Dating back to Week 5 and all the way up to last week’s game, Tampa has only scored 19 total points in the first half of its games. They’re digging themselves in a hole early and having to play catch-up in the second halves. Miami is allowing 24.9 points per game so far this season, so hopefully the Bucs can take advantage and score some early points for a change.  The return of Mike Evans, fresh off his one game suspension should at least help, even if just a little bit.


If this game were to be played as scheduled back in Week 1, the Bucs would have been the clear favorite.  But here we are 10 weeks later and this team looks nothing like anybody thought they would.  On the flip side, when Ryan Tannehill went down with his injury and Miami brought in Cutler, most people thought it would be a seamless transition.  That necessarily hasn’t turned out to be the case.  Cutler, like most of his career, has been inconsistent this season.

Neither one of these teams has a clear advantage over the other.  This is about as close of a match-up as you’re going to see.  Usually, if that’s the case you look to the team that has the advantage at quarterback.  In this case it would be advantage, Cutler.  However, Fitzpatrick might just have a little bit of “Fitz-magic” left in him, even if it is sans beard.  Tampa wins a squeaker this week and wins consecutive games for the first time this season, but points will be at a premium.

Final Score: Bucs win 16-13

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