The Buccaneers have to get their rushing attack going this week as they play the number one rush offense in the league in the Chiefs. The best defense is the one that isn’t on the field, so I expect the Buccaneers to try and control the time of possession.
Offensively this team has the potential to be great, but through four weeks has disappointed, mainly because of the play of Josh Freeman. Freeman has simply not been the guy to take charge, but I think this week is the week he breaks out.
During the bye week, coach Greg Schiano talked about how the offense is still coming together, but we saw a ton of promise from Freeman in the second half of the game against the Washington Redskins. I think they are starting to realize that getting Freeman out on the move helps him out tremendously.
The other thing that Schiano hinted on this past week is getting LeGarrette Blount more involved in the game. He saw the most action all season before the bye week, including scoring his first touchdown of the season. I think it’s important to get him involved early and let him set the tone. We have seen what we get out of Doug Martin in this offense. I think it’s time to see what Blount can do with a bigger workload.
At receiver, Vincent Jackson faces a familiar foe in the Chiefs and their top corner Brandon Flowers. Flowers has done a great job of locking down Jackson in the past, as Jackson–despite playing two games a year against the Chiefs–hasn’t scored a touchdown against them since 2009. He needs to come up big this week when he has the opportunities. His size match-up needs to be exploited and those are the plays he needs to come down with.
The Buccaneers have also been doing some shifting on the line during the bye week. Schiano is keeping the call close to his chest, but Jeremy Trueblood has been taking a lot of first team reps at right guard. I always believe in getting your best men on the field. Trueblood is one of our better linemen and has an opportunity to take over for Ted Larsen after Demar Dotson stole his right tackle spot.
Defensively, it’s going to be the old fashion saying of an immovable object meeting an immovable force. When focused down this year, the Buccaneers run defense has controlled the line of scrimmage. They have yet to face a back of Jamaal Charles‘ talent level, though. He leads the league in rushing.
Expect Mark Barron to be a big factor in this game as the eighth man in the box. He will be the key on shutting down the run and making Brady Quinn throw the football. Quinn was announced as the starter for this week when Matt Cassel was ruled out with a concussion.
This might be a blessing in disguise for a Chiefs offense that has been anemic in the air. We all know that Quinn has a rocket arm, but we’ll see if he can connect with his receivers. The Buccaneers secondary has allowed the most yards after the catch, so if he can hit them in stride, they could come up big.
Another great match-up to watch this week will be Aqib Talib on Dwayne Bowe. Two big body guys on the outside should be locked up man to man all day with the Chiefs known as a running team. Whoever wins this battle will probably win this game.
The keys to victory for the Buccaneers this week are quite simple. Limit Charles on the ground and establish Freeman early to set the tone. Freeman will see a lot of zero coverage this week, which means his receivers have to beat the Chiefs corners. The Bucs offensive line should be able to control the line of scrimmage, plus coming off the bye week, they will be fresh and wear down the Chiefs defense.
I think the run defense comes up big and shut Charles down this week. I have the Buccaneers winning this game at home by a score of 24-13.