The 2020 Buccaneers will take on a deceptively tough Washington Football Team on Saturday in the NFC Wildcard round. With the talk about Tom Brady versus the Washington defense, let’s look at some of the key players on the Bucs defense. I’ll predict the production of linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David, and cornerback Carlton Davis III.
LB Shaq Barrett
Barrett should be relatively fresh coming off the Reserve/Covid-19 list coming off a down year considering his 2019 numbers. He dropped to eight sacks from his 19.5 in 2019. He also had fewer quarterback hits at 16 compared to 37 last season. Tackles for loss dropped to 11 from 19. Stats skewed with the fact the defense saw the field significantly less not having to deal with as many turnovers. Lately, he’s had a three-game streak of recording at least one tackle for a loss. I can see him continuing that at least 2-3 times with this monster rush defense. I can also see him registering a sack on the immobile Washington quarterback Alex Smith. Multiple sacks might not be likely with head coach Ron Rivera trying to get quick releases and protect him. I also project Barrett to get 3-4 tackles in this defensive struggle.
LB – Lavonte David
Lavonte David has shown the monster production that we’ve consistently seen. He barely missed the 120 tackle plateau in 2020 coming three shy of the mark. The inside linebacker improved for his tackles for loss but hasn’t made much of a presence in the opposing backfield lately. I predict most of David’s tackles will be around the 8-10 range. Most teams utilize the screen to neutralize the Buccaneers’ pass rush and that’s likely how David racks them up on run plays.
CB Carlton Davis
Carlton Davis III is a little bit of a headscratcher given his limited involvement. Currently dealing with groin issues, he could be a potential liability in the secondary. Goodness knows how often they been torched on big plays. Assuming the cornerback takes the field, he could be targeted early and often especially if he’s lost a step with his nagging issues. Davis could see 7-8 tackles mostly from short midrange throws and perhaps a pass defense. One positive you can say is he has a career-high four interceptions. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had one in six games.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to keep their four-game winning streak alive as they head into Wild Card Weekend. Tampa Bay’s defense will need to play strong without linebacker Devin White as he still sits on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. With the offense seemingly firing on all cylinder, the defense will need to match that in order to head deep into the playoffs