Two months ago most people would have predicted this weekend’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be a blowout. Coming into the year the Bucs were viewed as perhaps the best team in the NFC and Seattle as maybe the worst. Things haven’t played out that way.
In fact, it is Seattle that comes in leading their division at 6-3 and Tampa Bay at just 4-5 (which is also good enough for their division lead). This role reversal has come as a surprise, but the reality is that the Seahawks have played better football this year. The Bucs will have to scratch and claw to get this win.
Add on top of that that the home team is already at a disadvantage. While this is technically a home game for the Bucs, the game is actually being played in Germany. That’s a lot of additional travel for this game.
Beyond the circumstances of this game, there is plenty to talk about on the field. When the teams line up for their early morning kickoff, here’s what to watch for.
Buccaneers Secondary Vs Seahawks Wide Receivers
Seattle has one of the best pass catching duos in the league. DK Metcalf is a freak athlete who can out run and out physical anyone who lined up across from him. Tyler Lockett is a smaller, shifty route runner who can make opponents miss in space.
Both could be legitimate number one receivers for several teams in the NFL. Their level of talent and the way they compliment each other will be a problem for the Buccaneers secondary. However, if the Bucs want to stop this explosive offense then this is where it starts.
While Carlton Davis is Tampa Bay’s best corner, it’s Jamel Dean that actually matches up better with Metcalf. Dean has comparable speed and good size to stay with this rising star receiver. Davis, who is a bit slower, will need consistent over the top help in this game.
This safety help is the key to winning this matchup. Mike Edwards needs to make his presence felt with his range and ball skills. This should hopefully limit Metcalf. Whereas Antoine Winfield Jr can cover the slot, where Lockett can be very dangerous.
This has to be a group effort for the Bucs. Leaving anyone on an island with either of these receivers is a gamble. But by limiting both of these guys I’m not convinced that the Seahawks have enough firepower elsewhere to do significant damage.
Buccaneers Linebackers Vs Kenneth Walker
The Seahawks rookie running back has looked very good this year. After being named college football’s best running back last season, Walker hasn’t missed a beat transitioning to the NFL. He is explosive and has excellent vision.
Where he does a lot of his damage is on the cutback. If a play breaks down and he finds daylight on the backside then he will burn a defense. This means that linebackers will have to be very disciplined.
That isn’t a concern with Lavonte David. The future Hall of Famer is as smart and disciplined as they come. For Devin White, this may be a problem. He has regularly abandoned his assignment to try to make a play in his career.
If these two linebackers can keep Walker contained then he won’t do much damage in other ways. It’s a simple recipe for success, but will obviously be much harder to execute.
The Geno Smith Factor
After a lackluster career, Smith has finally found some success. In fact, he’s had more success this season than the rest of his career combined. This naturally leads to the question: is this for real?
While the production may seem flukey, Smith has legitimately played well this year. If that is sustainable is yet to be seen. Personally, I believe that things will eventually even out.
Between the travel and playing a good Bucs defense it’s unclear what to expect from Smith. If Todd Bowles and company can force a few turnovers then that would be a huge advantage for the Bucs.
This Seahawks offense has been good this year. They can throw and run the ball at a high level. However, these are matchups that the Bucs can hold their own in.
If The Buccaneers just limit this Seattle offense, then this defense is one that will give up points. Although the Bucs struggles on offense are well documented, they should be able to score multiple touchdowns in this game.
Seahawks – 20
Buccaneers – 30
Betting odds provided by, BettingApps.com.
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