Tonight is a game that will determine if this team is progressing toward competing for the NFC South Title, or not. There are 4 executions the Buccaneers will need to hit in order to get their first win, at home and get them to .500 again, hopefully, placing them in the driver’s seat towards the first winning season in a long time.
1) Dominant Running Game: This is a next to an impossible task, as the Bucs are down to their 4th rusher of the season, and the Falcons know this. We need to force our will if we want the offense to be effective tonight and keeping Winston from long 3rd down situations. We must keep the chains moving. It is imperative that Jameis keeps his attempts to around thirty, and allow the running game to open up. For man teams this year, that has been the formula for Victories. The offensive line has been pretty solid this year, and it will be relied on tonight to expedite the blocks, in order for the running backs by committee to find the holes to daylight.
2) Solid Safety Play: It is no secret that the weakest link in the Bucs team has been, safety play. Matt Ryan is the hottest passer in the League, right now, and has a team with a slew of receivers. They will be attacking this part of the defense, all night. Expect long vertical passes to test the safeties in the form of tight Ends, running backs, and receivers coming out in an attempt to free up Julio. Holding this to a minimum, and taking advantage of any turnover opportunities, will slow down further attempts at these maneuvers. It is important to achieve this in order to keep long scoring plays from being cashed in on. But to ensure that the defensive line and the linebackers must make life miserable for Ryan.
3) Aguayo Has To Hit The Mark: Without any free agents visiting One Buc Place this week, it seems the Bucs are clear in their statement of “In Roberto, We Trust.” Jason Licht is standing by his move to let the rookie sort through the game at the pro level. Not sure if Koetter and the rest of the players agree with that decision, with this team on the verge of becoming a competitor for a playoff spot. Although, if number 19 does hit field goals at the most important times in tonight’s division battle, it could make the momentum shift far too great for the Falcons to compensate.
4) Aggressive Effective Coaching: In order to win this game against one of the League’s best teams, the Buccaneers coaching staff has to call the plays for winning this game. Nothing can be wasted against a team that is riding a wave of confidence after the big win against Green Bay. Our young team has to play as if they are here to win and take control of the NFC South. That will only come to fruition if the staff adjusts what is no longer effective. We must stick with a game plan and run with it. Literally, run first pass later. Too many times have drives fizzled and died due to not establishing the run game. In a sense, the less Jameis has to take the offense on his shoulders , in order to keep a drive alive, the better. When Jameis is forced into a situation where he has to place the team on his back, three and out’s and mistakes happen, and all too frequently. We must maintain our offensive presence, as an example: Last week’s game when the first quarter we seemed to play the best all around football we had in a long time, but then the Raiders adjusted and we had not. We fizzled out. The defense was stuck on the field longer than any defense should have to and got burnt in the process. We cannot allow our defense to stay on the football field for 40 mins in any game, let alone a second half.