Wow, what a defensive performance! Last week I made the mistake of picking the Green Bay Packers to defeat the Buccaneers. Boy was I wrong! The Bucs held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 10 point and forced two interceptions. Jamel Dean had his first interception returned for a touchdown and the defense sacked Rodgers four times.
The offense looked like a well-oiled machine as they scored 33 points. Rob Gronkowski scored his first touchdown of the season and the Buccaneers won to improve their record to 4-2. The Bucs now hit the road to face the Las Vegas Raiders on this afternoon.
Breaking Down the Raiders
The Raiders come into this game with a record of 3-2 and look to get a win over another NFC South opponent. The first two weeks of the season the Raiders played the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, defeating both. The team is coming off a bye week and looking to continue the momentum that was created with a win over the defending Superbowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Coming into this week, the team placed its entire offensive line on the COVID-19 reserve list due to Trent Brown testing positive for the virus. The offense, if healthy, could pose issues for the defense. They have playmakers at all the skill positions. Quarterback Derek Carr has proven that when he is on, he is a ProBowl player. Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, and Henry Ruggs III all can make plays and will be focal points of the Raiders attack.
The defense does not lack for playmakers either. Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell can both get to the passer and will look to make Tom Brady uncomfortable all day. Crosby has racked up four sacks this season. The Buccaneers will be seeing a familiar face on the Raider defensive line in Carl Nassib. Like most teams that face the Bucs this season, the Raiders’ secondary will be challenged by two of the top-10 receivers in the league in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
The secondary is a little banged up, but have a solid group on the back end. LaMarcus Joyner has been dealing with a hamstring issue and was limited all week in practice. The Buccaneers will no doubtably test him early to see if he is healthy.
How the Game Will Play Out
After the performance from last week from the defense, I am looking forward to this week’s matchup. If the Bucs duplicate the defensive performance from last week this game, they will have another blowout win. The Raiders will look to establish the run early and this could play right into the Buccaneers’ strengths.
The Bucs have not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season. If the Bucs can slow Josh Jacobs early and make Derek Carr win the game with his arm, I don’t think the game will be close. The Bucs’ offense will have to get the run game going early to setup the play action passes for Evans and Godwin. The ground game will be key for both teams. A good run game from either team could help the outcome of the game.
The Buccaneers’ defense picks up where it left off last week. They limit the Raiders to 60 yards on the ground and create two turnovers. Ronald Jones II continues to run the ball well for the Bucs and rushes for 110 yards and one touchdown. The offensive line also continues to get better and gives Tom Brady the time needed to pick apart this Raiders defense. Tampa Bay wins and moves to 5-2 on the season.
Final Score Prediction: Buccaneers 35, Raiders 14