The surging Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team that no one wants to play right now and for good reason, they are eating up W’s.
The Bucs are finding ways to win football games and that is mostly due to the defense emerging as one of the best in the NFL over the past four weeks. Tampa’s offense has been Jeckle and Hyde lately, some games the offense starts fast coming out firing on all cylinders and showing fans that the team is ready for more than just an above .500 season.
Mike Evans began the season on fire. He was one of the best receivers in the NFL. He was dependable, unstoppable, and always in a position to make the big play. It seems he has been in a bit of a decline the past few games. However, in his defense, he has been put under the microscope by every opposing team and some teams just have found a way to keep Mike quiet. Mike cannot be quiet come Sunday night, not in Dallas. Evans has to make some noise. Sunday’s game against the 11-2 Cowboys is a perfect place for Mike Evans to get back to playing like he did earlier this season. Now keep in mind, I‘m not saying Mike’s decline is his fault, especially when Tampa has no other receiver threats that opposing defenses can draw up their game plans for. It’s easy for teams to adjust their defenses to focusing on Mike Evans alone.
Jameis Winston has other targets aside from Mike, and they are damn good too. Cameron Brate, Russell Shepard, and Adam Humphries can make the defense pay for focusing mainly on Mike Evans, and that will have to happen in Dallas if Evans is going to be limited in his production once again.
The Bucs run game hasn’t exactly been what it was in 2015 and at times has looked useless, however, it has allowed Tampa to maintain a 50-minute advantage in possession time in the past five games, and accounts for Tampa’s only touchdown. Dallas has a second-ranked run defense in the NFL and a 28th ranked pass defense, but Tampa will still need to establish the run game and keep that time of possession swaying in our direction.
Tampa’s defense has been creating takeaway’s and that is one of the main reasons the Bucs are 5-0 right now that and the fact that Tampa hasn’t turned the ball over very often. Dallas will try to establish the run early, and boy can they run. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot has 1,392 yards and 12 touchdowns on 287 attempts (4.5-yard average), and Tampa ranks 20th in the NFL in run defense. The Dallas offensive line also is one of the best in the league, but Tampa’s pass rush is no joke weighing in at 16th in the NFL.Tackling and sack/ sack yards Dallas and Tampa are fairly close in numbers they rank Dallas 6th and Tampa 7th in the rankings. Dallas has Struggled on third down conversions in the past two games only converting two of twenty-four third down attempts. Dallas will try to run Elliot on third down and Tampa has to stop him.
The Buccaneers will literally throw everything at the Cowboys, and I expect to see Charles Sims out there running routes on Sunday, much like he did against the Saints. He was highly effective. Jameis will be pressured by Dallas, but Jameis seems to excel under pressure and considering the fact that the Cowboy’s pass defense is sub par, receivers will be open down the field. Strike fast and strike hard Bucs. Keeping Elliot out of the end zone and keeping them out of field goal range, are keys to making this game potentially one-sided. But, these two teams are going to play their hearts out on Sunday. The Cowboys do not want to be humiliated at home and the surging Bucs have what it takes to just do that. This game will be Tampa’s toughest test, but all season the Bucs have overcome the odds.
Jameis mentioned eating some W’s, and I believe they eat some more W’s this week and defeat the Cowboys 21-20.