Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a three game winning streak. They are getting hot at the right time of the year and are looking to build on their momentum. Now they will look to take one step closer to the playoffs as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.
The Jags are falling apart in the second half of the season. They are currently on a three game losing streak and can see multiple teams creeping up on them in the AFC South division race. There is no doubt that they will be coming into this game as hungry and desperate for a win as any team in the NFL.
It’s safe to say that this is essentially a playoff game for both teams as they continue to fight for their postseason lives. However, it will take more than wanting to win to actually get it done. Here are the Skeleton Keys for the Bucs to take home this victory.
Buccaneers Tackles Continue To Shine
The Jaguars have a pair of very dangerous pass rushers who the Bucs will have to deal with this weekend. Josh Allen currently has 13.5 sacks and the 2022 first overall pick Trevon Walker is progressing nicely as he now has 6.0 sacks in his second season. The rest of the team has a combined 10.5 sacks, so if you can stop these two then you can stop the Jags pass rush.
Fortunately, the Buccaneers have the tackles on the outside to deal with this type of pass rush duo. Tristan Wirfs is a perennial All Pro candidate and has a case to be made that he is the best left tackle in the NFL. On the other side is possibly the NFL’s most improved player this season in Luke Goedeke who has turned into one of the best right tackles in the league.
This is the type of best on best matchup that fans love to see. While I believe the Bucs will win a great majority of these reps, it’s fair to assume that the Jaguars will get a few wins here as well. As long as the Bucs prevent Walker and Allen from wreaking havoc, then this should be an advantage for the Bucs offense.
Bake At Your Own Risk
Jacksonville is an interesting team in terms of their pass defense. There is part of me that believes the Bucs are licking their chops for this match up. That’s because the Jaguars allow the fifth most passing yards in the NFL.
However, they are a bit of a double edge sword. While it’s very possible that the Bucs could rack up a lot of yards through the air, the Jags are also prone to taking the ball away. They are currently tied for fifth in the NFL in interceptions.
There’s definitely some risk and reward for attacking the Jaguar secondary. This might be a risk worth taking with the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin catching the ball, but it’s a risk nonetheless. Sunday will be a big test for Baker Mayfield and his ability to drive the offense while also protecting the football.
Tied 5th in interceptions and 5th in passing yards allowed
Attack The Quarterback….Whoever it is!
This Jaguars offense is driven by their young franchise quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. It was just a few years ago that he was the number one overall pick in viewed as a generational quarterback prospect. Despite a bit of a rocky year, this offense will go as far as Lawrence will take them.
However, Lawrence coming into this game banged up. He has been dealing with an ankle injury and just cleared a concussion protocol as of time of writing this article. Even when healthy Lawrence hasn’t been great this year, but with these bumps and bruises this is a matchup that the Bucs can’t afford to lose.
Pressuring a quarterback, who now has a limited mobility, will be a key factor in this game. If the Bucs can confuse and chase Lawrence out of the pocket then they’re odds of winning go up dramatically. If they allow him to sit back and take his time, then this has the makings of a tight game down the stretch.