The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the look of a team unraveling under Coach Greg Schiano entering Sunday’s game at Foxboro and didn’t really disprove that notion in the 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. The Arizona Cardinals haven’t shown such acrimony under new head man Bruce Arians — after getting thrashed 31-7 to at the New Orleans Saints — and enter Week 4 with a 1-2 record under the offensive guru.
Week 4 Schedule: Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
TV Info (ET): 1 p.m. on FOX
Predicted Spread: Cardinals -3 (Actual: Bucs -2.5)
To call this a battle of offense versus defense would be a misnomer, as while Tampa Bay stuck around the first two games on the back of incredible defensive performances, Arizona’s basically gotten even contributions from both sides (neither side in New Orleans). The defensive part of the equation should only improve when star middle backer Daryl Washington returns from suspension Week 5.
Larry Fitzgerald‘s hammy will be critical monitor as it limited him the past couple weeks, only averaging X yards through the air. Darrelle Revis could very well shadow him — if Fitz is healthy enough to play — and leave Carson Palmer relying on other options like Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and Andre Ellington. The Bucs just hope Josh Freeman has the ability to find any of his tertiary reads with NFL-caliber accuracy.
Key Matchup: Vincent Jackson vs. Patrick Peterson
One of NFL’s elite deep threats versus one of its most talented cover corners. Peterson has yet to convert this skill into a consistent shutdown presence but he’s also just in year three and has flashed the capability plenty enough for realistic hope of joining the Revis/Richard Sherman tier. After getting roasted by Calvin Johnson a couple weeks ago Peterson finds a chance to redeem himself against the ever-dangerous V-Jax.
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