At 3 – 5, the Buccaneers know the time to start winning is right now and this week with their matchup against the Redskins. And one player in particular spoke out Wednesday that it’s not all “doom and gloom” for the second half of the season in Tampa Bay.
Veteran Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, who is having a tremendous start to 2018 so far, plainly put it out there that: the Bucs have a great opportunity over the next few weeks to get back in the playoff hunt in the NFC.
"Our schedule favors us, we see that. We obviously have to take it one game at a time, but we see a lot of winnable games."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 7, 2018
When Evans references, “we have a lot of winnable games left,” he’s absolutely right.
In fact, Tampa Bay is getting the Redskins at an opportune time, as Washington has had horrendous injuries on their offensive line. This includes putting two players on injured reserve earlier this week that were hurt during last week’s game with Atlanta. A game with the Falcons, where the Skins were blown out at home.
Now, it’s well known that the Buccaneers have the worst scoring defense themselves, right now in the NFL, and they have to figure out how to stop RB Adrian Peterson. That’s because Peterson showed up the week of last year’s game at Arizona as a free agent signing. And, he ran through, past and around the Bucs for four quarters in an easy Cardinal win.
However, if the Bucs can play off the home crowd and put points up on the board, like they have all season, they should be able to win on Sunday.
Further, to Evans point, the next two games are at the Giants and then, back home with the 49ers, who are two of the worst teams in the NFL record-wise. Those two teams coincidentally, will be playing each other Monday night in San Francisco.
Still, it’s a great opportunity for the Bucs to pick up a couple of wins that could have them at or above .500 at the end of November.
Evans was asked about the 2016 season, when the Bucs also stood at 3 – 5, then went on to win five games in a row and put themselves in the thick of the wild-card picture.
And he was again optimistic on this year’s hopeful playoff run vs. what happened in 2016.
“We have more Talent than we did that year and that year we had a harder schedule on the back end. So we’ll see. We got to start with one and that’s beating a really good Washington team.”
And even though the schedule maker didn’t do Tampa Bay any favors by having their first three NFC South games on the road, that also means that come December the Buccaneers will get the Panthers, the Saints and then close the year the final week with the Falcons at home. And, those games could have huge playoff implications for everyone involved.
Even though Evans did not have a very good game last week against Carolina with only one catch for 16 yards, he has had an outstanding first half of the season statistically. Evans is fifth in the NFL in receiving yardage, has four 100 or more yard receiving games and has 37 catches for first downs, which is tied for fifth in the league.
He is clearly the Bucs number one target and a “marked man” every week, but it has also opened things up for WR DeSean Jackson and TE OJ Howard ,who were also having tremendous seasons.
Now, can Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs passing game do what Matt Ryan the Falcons did to Washington last week, as he riddled them in a blowout win?
If so, the Bucs will be 4 – 5 and off to a great start at trying to climb back in the playoff race.
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