Keys to the Game: Buccaneers at Raiders

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off a dominant win against the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers never looked comfortable, and the offense was efficient in both the run and pass.

 

The Las Vegas Raiders pose a slightly different challenge this week. Henry Ruggs III is a burner who can beat you deep, and Josh Jacobs is quickly becoming a top tier running back. The Buccaneers should come out on top, especially with news that the Raiders offensive line cannot practice due to COVID-19. But without further ado, here are three keys to the game to look out for on Sunday.

Make The Raiders One Dimensional

Derek Carr has vastly improved his deep ball so far in 2020. Against the Kansas City Chiefs, Carr was lighting up opposing corners, and was rewarded with a 40-32 win. If you look at his deep ball statistics, Carr really only had success against the Chiefs. If I’m Todd Bowles, I’m daring Carr to try and beat me vertically.

Henry Ruggs can cause some damage, but Jamel Dean’s 4.30 40 time should be able to hold up well. The Raiders offensive line is one of the best units in football, but no practice this week will drastically hurt their performance on Sunday. The Buccaneers are an elite defense, that can stop the run effectively even without Vita Vea. If you can force the Raiders into third and longs, you can get off the field with ease.

Pound the Rock With Jones

Ronald Jones II has really come into his own this season. With three 100 yard games in a row, Jones will look to make it a fourth, something that hasn’t been done in a Buccaneers uniform since 1985.

The Raiders have one of the worst running defenses in football. They rank 31st in DVOA, only ahead of the Miami Dolphins. We know Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich love to establish the run, and this is the game to do it.

The Buccaneers will get Leonard Fournette back from injury. Rotating him in with Jones will allow both to be fresh in the fourth quarter, and will only help to gash Las Vegas’ defensive line. I could see both Jones and Fournette combining for 150 rushing yards Sunday.

Unleash the Hounds

I know we already touched on the Buccaneers defense, but this is an important point in its own right. With no practice for the Raiders offensive line, they won’t be prepared for Todd Bowles’ blitz schemes.

We saw just how confused the Packers offensive line was last week, and I expect a similar story on Sunday. Just let Todd Bowles unleash this vicious front seven, and Derek Carr will be running for his life.

The Buccaneers are a more talented football team. A victory would put them at 5-2 after seven weeks, with a slight lead over the New Orleans Saints. Lets just hope the game is played, COVID willing.

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