Defensive Point of Attack: Buccaneers vs Browns


This week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns. The 3-7 Browns hope to end a two game losing streak and turn things around this season while the Buccaneers intend on extending their win streak.

The Buccaneers shouldn’t take this team lightly. Despite their record, four of their losses have come by three points or less. In order to do so here’s where the defense should focus its attack.

Stop The Run

Though the Browns rank 13th in points for, they are second in rushing touchdowns, fifth in yards, seventh in yards per attempt, and fifth in first downs by rush. Nick Chubb is one of the best backs in the league this year and requires defenses to focus on him when he is in the line up. The defense, 13th in rushing yards allowed and fourth in rushing touchdowns allowed must continue to stifle the rushing attack of the Browns.

The difficult part will be to stay disciplined. Chubb has a fairly even spread on where he rushes. Play calling has him distributing his bruising attack on either flank and through the middle at almost an even 33%. Complicating the issue is his ability to take a one step cut to find a hole and his ability to gain yards after contact. Ultimately he has totaled 463 yards after contact for an average of 2.7 yards after contact per rush. The Buccaneers need to focus on wrapping up and bringing him down on first contact.

The defense needs to force the Browns into throwing the ball.

Forced to Throw

Assuming the Buccaneers defense can force this team to throw it could shift the balance and effect momentum. Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis would pair against Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. This will be an opportunity for Dean and Davis to to get some revenge against Cooper from the week one game in 2021. Having improved, the tandem should make for a more difficult outing for Cooper.

The Browns are 19th in passing yards, tied for 18th with four teams for passing touchdowns, and 25th in first downs by pass. They’ll be going against a Buccaneers defense that is fifth in yards allowed through the air.

Subsequently, when trailing in games the Browns offense shifts to throwing the ball and away from a run first mentality. A 103 run, 164 pass split. Also, their average net yards gained in these situations is only 5.3 yards. In comparison to when they are tied or leading which is 8.1 yards.  Once they move away from the run they lose momentum.

Final Thought

A divisional game awaits behind this outing. The Buccaneers have had a bye week to prep for this one. They can not get trapped looking ahead. Ultimately, these next few weeks provide a chance for the Buccaneers to widen the gap in the NFC South. Now they just have to execute each week at a time.

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Gambling Odds

Bucs -3.5
Browns +3.5
Over/Under 42.5

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