Alright Krewe, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers are officially 1-0! The team has started the season on a better note than last year’s opener, in New Orleans. With a narrow victory against Dallas, 31-29, the defending champs have plenty to work on but at least came away with a victory.
In week two the Buccaneers face off against a division rival, the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta took a beating in week one at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles 32-6. They will be looking to rebound this week, and we should expect a better effort from the division foe on Sunday.
Bucs Pass Rush
Against the Cowboys, the Buccaneers could only get home one time. The team’s pass rushers came close on multiple occasions but gave up a big completion to Dallas more than once. Against good passing offenses, as the Cowboys have, the defense will have to perform better. The defense gave up 403 passing yards to Prescott and co.
This week they will again have a tough task, against a great quarterback, in Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. Against the Eagles, he couldn’t get much going only passing for 164 yards on 35 attempts. Ryan was also sacked three times and hit nine more times. On the other hand, the former MVP is very capable of getting hot and can keep his team on the scoreboard if he’s comfortable in the pocket.
Look for the Buccaneers to apply pressure with the front seven, the Falcons’ main weakness is the offensive front. Making Matt Ryan uncomfortable will be a key reason for a Tampa win.
This will be the first matchup against tight end Kyle Pitts. The Atlanta Falcons feel that they have a once-in-a-generation talent at the position. Will they look to target the pass coverage skills of the team’s linebackers? Before the last postseason, linebacker Devin White had some ups and downs in coverage.
On the outside, the Falcons also have young stud receiver, Calvin Ridley. Ridley enjoyed a breakout season last year for Atlanta and will look to become the team’s true number one. With longtime star Julio Jones now suiting up for the Titans, Ridley will be treated as such against the Buccaneers’ number one cornerback Carlton Davis.
Look for the Buccaneers to key on limiting the impact of Ridley and Pitts Sunday. Carlton Davis will have plenty of help from linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White in the middle of the field. Tampa Bay shouldn’t allow another team to rack up the yards and points again like in week one.
Big Mike Evans
Wide receiver Mike Evans didn’t have a great opening night statistically. Fortunately for those who love stats, he has a quarterback in Tom Brady that is very legacy conscious. Evans has an all-time streak of 1,000-yard seasons going with seven. Brady will be looking to get his big star receiver going this week against Atlanta.
The Falcons will surely look to take away Evans but do they have the roster to get the job done? It’s up in the air at this moment. Look for Mike to get on the scoreboard this week at home.
Sacking the opposing quarterback isn’t a new strategy, but for the Buccaneers to get where they want to be in January, they will have to start taking passers down. Playing bad offensive lines is where great defenses make their money. Atlanta will look to repeat the effort seen from Dallas and get the ball into their playmaker’s hands and score some points. If the Buccaneers cannot contain the young playmaker’s Kyle Pitts and Calvin Ridley they could have a long Sunday.