After a stretch of 6 weeks away from Raymond James Stadium, a home game has finally arrived for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .
No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The Bucs have a home game this afternoon at Raymond James Stadium. After a promising start to the long trip with a 55-40 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay (2-6) has lost its last 4 games. Standing in the way of a mark in the win column is today’s opponent, the Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1).
Bucs tasked with stopping a rookie QB
Let’s face it: quarterbacks have had their way with the Tampa Bay secondary so far this year. Rookies and veterans alike. The Buccaneers come into today’s game dead last against the pass, allowing 293 yards per game. Cardinals first overall pick Kyler Murray is coming off his best game so far as a pro. Last week against the San Francisco 49ers, Murray averaged 10 yards per pass on his way to 241 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a 130 quarterback rating. Murray has also protected the football well throwing only 4 interceptions through 9 games this season.
The task of stopping Kyler Murray will not be an easy one as Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis is expected to miss his second straight game. Filling his spot will be rookie Jamel Dean whose inexperience left him ripe for the picking at the hands of Russell Wilson in last weeks loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Dean will need to step up in a big way to help shut down Murray and take away the big plays for Arizona’s passing attack.
Ronald Jones will carry the load at running back
After another solid performance last week, Bruce Arians has officially named Ronald Jones the Bucs starting running back moving forward. Expect to see Peyton Barber in a more limited role and Jones to carry the load on the ground. Against the Seahawks, Jones carried 18 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. He has also shown the ability to make plays happen after initial contact in a way that Barber has not.
Tight end O.J. Howard is back for the Buccaneers today. Howard has missed the last 2 games with a hamstring injury. Winston will have his full arsenal of pass catching targets at his disposal today.
A key to winning today for Tampa Bay will be to set the tone early and control time of possession. Taking an early lead and keeping the pressure off of Winston is necessary and an effective rushing attack is where it starts.
Three keys to victory
1. Dean, secondary take a step forward and don’t allow big plays from Kyler Murray
2. Jones needs to establish himself and make a statement in his first game as the declared starting running back.
3. Score first and control the clock. Limit turnovers.
Bucs get back on track with a win in another shootout. Tampa Bay 48, Arizona 38.
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