The battered and bruised Tampa Bay Buccaneers limp into Buffalo to take on a surprisingly competitive Bills team.
Records: Tampa Bay 2-3, Buffalo 3-2
Game Time/Network: 1:00 pm EST, Fox, Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston.
Spread: Buffalo -3
Series: Tampa Bay leads the Series 7-3
Tampa Bay – Offense (13th in scoring, 4th overall, 2nd passing, 30th rushing), Defense (22nd in scoring, 30th overall, 31st vs. the pass, 12th vs. the run)
Buffalo – Offense (27th in scoring, 31st overall, 30th passing, 17th rushing), Defense (1st in scoring, 13th overall, 20th vs. the pass, 7th vs. the run)
Bucs Player to Watch
Who else but Jameis Winston? Winston will play on Sunday but the biggest question is how effective can he be and will he finish the game? The Bucs seem pretty confident in the second point, as they didn’t sign another quarterback to the active roster. However, Winston was already struggling with accuracy issues, especially on the deep ball, so how limited will he be?
Bills Player to Watch
The Bills defense is the strength of their team and Jerry Hughes can be a game wrecker. Combined with Marcel Dareus, Hughes has racked up 3 sacks in the first five games, leading Buffalo’s top-ranked scoring defense. It will be a tall order for Donovan Smith, who has struggled this season, to keep Hughes off his quarterback.
When the Bucs Have the Ball
Make no mistake, Buffalo has a pretty darn good defense. They especially good at keeping their opponents off the scoreboard, only surrendering 20 points once this season, in their week 4 loss at Cincinnati. The Bucs will need to run the football with Doug Martin to keep the pressure off of Jameis and his bum shoulder.
Buffalo is 7th against the run so that won’t be an easy task either. This may be a game the Bucs will need to win in the trenches.
When the Bills Have the Ball
The movable force vs. the stoppable object. Yeah, Buffalo has a great defense. Offensively? Not so much. No wideouts that really scare you. LeSean McCoy can hurt you (heck, look what Adrian Peterson did to the Bucs last week) but he’s not been very effective this season. Then again, neither has the Bucs defense which has been shockingly bad to this point in 2017.
It wasn’t what anyone expected out of this defense coming into the second year under Mike Smith. The Bucs do appear to be getting Kwon Alexander back this week so hopefully, that will help.
Ultimately, this game may come down to whether the Bucs defense that shows up on Sunday is the one that crushed the Bears and stymied Tom Brady and the Patriots or the one throttled by the likes of Case Keenum and Adrian Peterson.
Weird Facts Only Interesting to Me
- Jameis Winston has struggled against Sean McDermott coached defenses. He’s 2-2 as a starter with a 60% completion pct, just 4 touchdowns against a whopping 7 interceptions.
- In 2 career games vs. the Buffalo Bills, Desean Jackson has 11 receptions for 239 yds and 2 touchdowns.
- Bills QB Tyron Taylor is one of three QBs in the NFL to have 40 or more TD passes and 10 or more TD runs since 2015.
- The Bucs defense has given up 37 ppg on the road this season.
- The Bills defense has given up just 14 ppg at home.