The Bucs are coming off one of their more impressive wins of the season. I know, it’s a low bar, dominating the Tennessee Titans last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium 20-6.
The San Francisco 49ers took on the Jacksonville Jaguars, arguably one of the better AFC teams, this past Sunday and looked absolutely unstoppable, taking home a 34-3 road victory.
And yet, that’s not even the 49ers’ best game of the year. San Francisco took down the Dallas Cowboys (another team considered to be one of the best in the NFL) 42-10 in a Week 5 matchup in the other Bay area.
So… the Bucs might have their work cut out for them when they take on the 49ers in at Levi’s Stadium this Sunday.
Niners defensive lineman Nick Bosa and his newly-acquired linemat Chase Young are dominant forces on the edge, with the rest of the D-line Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead giving opposing o-lines nightmares on the interior.
Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield has yet to deal with a pass rush as ferocious and deadly as this group, and the running game will be met with not only the aforementioned defensive line, but All-Pro middle linebacker Fred Warner, the only man in the NFL who has full rights to say he’s better than Tampa’s own Lavonte David.
Add in an offense that has a fearsome foursome of playmakers in receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, tight end George Kittle, plus running back Christian McCaffrey—and the Bucs might be out of this game by halftime.
My guess is that the Bucs lose this one 38-17, with the Bucs’ offense putting up some garbage-time TDs to make the score look a little prettier. The Bucs lack the firepower offensively to keep up with San Francisco and the much-aligned secondary struggled so mightily against the Texans a couple weeks ago that it’s hard to have faith they’ll be able to keep up with this high-powered San Francisco offense.
No reason to use this as cause for concern; the Bucs were not expected to beat the 49ers before the season started, and not much has changed since. Tampa is an average-to-below-average team that can hang in there with other squads in their tier, but probably not with teams above them (see: Eagles, Lions, and Bills games, although the Bills might be scarily closer to being the Bucs than previously thought).
It’s just continuing to be one of those weird transition seasons. Hopefully this ends up being a trap game for the 49ers and the Buccaneers come out of this back at .500.
I just wouldn’t put any money on it.