The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Green Bay Packers today, in what should at least be a competitive game. Can the Bucs pull out their third win in four weeks? Let’s go to the preview.
Reviewing the Packers’ last four games:
Det 30, GB17 L
GB 23, Chi 16 W
Bal 23, GB 0 L
GB 28, Pit 31 L
In the Packers last six games, they have won only one game. But last week, Green Bay looked quite competitive against the Pittsburgh Steelers. To be fair, the Bucs looked good against the New England Patriots in their loss earlier this season, too.
Both teams are struggling, but the Packers are much closer to a playoff spot than the Bucs and their starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers has just returned to practice, although he’s not allowed to play yet.
The Pack are good against the run, but a bottom-tier pass defense. Green Bay will concede points.
Good news for the Bucs is that QB Jameis Winston returns to the starting lineup. The bad news is that he will be missing his starting center (Ali Marpet), starting right tackle (Demar Dotson), and starting running back (Doug Martin). With the late revelation that backup center Joe Hawley was ruled questionable, the offensive line will be a game of musical chairs.
Left tackle – Donovan Smith
Left guard – Pamphile/Benenoch?
Center – Evan Smith
Right guard – JR Sweezy
Rtight tackle – Pamphile/ Benenoch?
Although the run blocking has been atrocious, Dirk Koetter’s offense usually produces adequate pass blocking. In his last year in Atlanta, he lost six starting offensive linemen, but still had decent pass protection.
Our swashbuckling defense has swashed up high in some games and came unbuckled in other games. Last week’s debacle was one of the unbuckling kind. The defense gave up 368 yards passing, 148 yards on the ground, and allowed 11 out of 14 third downs. Two steps forward, one step back.
If there ever was a theme song for the Bucs’ defense this year, then it would be a play off of Queen’s “Another Buc bites the dust”. DT Clinton McDonald did not participate at all in practice this week. He is a part of the run stopping group.
Tampa is coming off an embarrassing loss last week. The team has a lot of pride and so they will want to wash out last week’s performance. Unfortunately, that performance cannot be unseen by my eyes nor many fan eyes. The expectation for the defensive performance remains murky, at best.
Offensively, the Bucs have Winston returning to the lineup. Will his time off help reinvigorate his touch on passes as well as carry the offense to produce even better for the past few weeks? In the past three weeks, the offense has average 19.3 points per game, along with two wins.
The Bucs and Buc fans are searching for hope.
Bucs 20, Packers 16