Who: Bucs (3-7) vs. 49ers (2-8)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Spread: Buccaneers by 2 points (Courtesy of VegasInsider.com)
Here’s what to watch:
Back to Jameis
For the second time this season the Buccaneers will go back to Jameis Winston as their starting quarterback. Winston came off his three game suspension with the NFL to start the Bucs game in Atlanta in October. He quarterbacked the Bucs for three total games with a 1 – 2 record. However, when he lost his third start to Cincinnati with three interceptions in the game, he went back to the sidelines for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
However, the veteran Fitzpatrick, who won the first two games of the season, could not get anything done the last three weeks as a starter and was repeatedly throwing interceptions (eight) just as Winston has done.
So, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter turned back to Winston for the second half last week and he led four touchdown drives but the Bucs rally still came up just short, 38 – 35 to New York.
It will likely be Winston’s last chance to do something to impress not only the coaching staff, but the owners of the Buccaneers, the Glazer family, about a possible new contract after Winston. His rookie deal expires at the end of this season.
49ers established the Run
The Bucs defense has shown vulnerability against the run all season long, including giving up 142 yards and two rushing touchdowns to the Giants Saquon Barkley last week. Can San Francisco get the ground game going with unheralded Matt Berida?
Head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to utilize the play-action pass and bootlegs from quarterback Nick Mullens and in order for that to be successful, they must establish the run early. Tampa Bay is giving up 113 yards on average per game, and if the Niners can get to or past that number, it will greatly help their chances to win.
As we wrote earlier in the week, the Buccaneers are now in danger of having one of the worst seasons at creating fumbles and interceptions for a defense with a 16-game schedule. In fact, it has gotten so bad that the Buccaneers have not had to take away in their last seven games on defense.
There should be some opportunity to pressure Mullins into potentially making mistakes throwing a ball, but there’s no reason why the likes of Jason pierre-paul and Gerald McCoy can’t get a strip Sack or something going to flip the field for the bucks. It’s been far too long and far too obvious that it is something they’re not doing a good enough job of in creating.
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