The Tampa Bay Buccaneers return home this week after two heart breaking road losses to take on the Washington Redskins. Much to everyone’s surprise the Buccaneers come into this game with the number one rush defense in the league.
Another big challenge comes to town this week as last year’s Heisman winner Robert Griffin III brings in his world class speed and Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. The good news for the Buccaneers is they have already seen someone like Griffin in week one, when they shut down Cam Newton.
Forcing Griffin to stay in the pocket and beat the Buccaneers with his arm could bode well for them. The Buccaneers are second in the league with eight takeaways. Even though they are ranked dead last in pass defense, they have been able to create turnovers at timely moments.
Early reports are that Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon is going to miss this week’s game. This is a big boost for Tampa, because Garcon’s speed has giving them fits including last year when he went for over one hundred yards and two touchdowns on their Monday night game.
Still Griffin should be able to have a big day, as the Buccaneers are a bend don’t break defense. Gerald McCoy should have a big day coming off of a two sack game against the Dallas Cowboys. He finally looks like the guy that many thought was a better NFL prospect than Ndamukong Suh.
Former Buccaneer great Warren Sapp even stopped by One Buc Place and mentioned the improvement in McCoy’s game. He also left him with a bit of motivation as McCoy has missed some early sacks that could have him in the league lead if he converted.
Along with McCoy, defensive end Michael Bennett needs to keep up his stellar play this year, especially with the injury to Adrian Clayborn. The Redskins offensive line has done a poor job of protecting Griffin so far, so the Buccaneers should be able to get to Griffin and force some turnovers.
On the other side of the ball Josh Freeman will look to bounce back from one of his worst games as a professional. The good news is the Redskins defense; specifically the secondary has been absolutely torched so far.
Vincent Jackson should be able to have a huge game and is a must start for all fantasy owners. A.J. Green had over 180 yards and a touchdown and there is no reason to think Jackson shouldn’t be able to put up similar numbers. Arrelious Benn also should have a big game as they haven’t been good at covering the slot throughout the year.
I think the Buccaneers should let Freeman regain his confidence and air it out for most of the game, but when they do go to run it they need to feature LeGarrette Blount more this week. Doug Martin has looked good when the holes are there, but with the predictable play calling he has been caught for losses more times than gains.
The Buccaneers need to find a rhythm on offense to help the defense out this week. With an early bye week coming in week 5, this is a huge momentum game for the Buccaneers. A win gives the Bucs a 2-2 record with a week to recover and added week to prepare.
I have the Buccaneers winning this one 38-28. After a game that stays close for three quarters, the running game finally gets going this week, and helps the Buccaneers coast to the victory headed into their bye week.