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Browns vs Buccaneers: Five Bold Predictions

The Bucs need some big performances to snap a three-game losing streak against the Browns

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dirk Koetter faces off against Hue Jackson this weekend
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of some bold predictions, the Bucs need a bold win against the Browns.

The Bucs have played some pretty bad football over the last three games, but if they are able to pull these off, it will be the remedy they need to get back to their winning ways of 2018.

1. The Buccaneers have their best defensive performance of the season. (Alex)

Call me crazy, but I think the Buccaneers defense dominates this game from start to finish. When people get fired, eyes begin to open and the players now know they are playing for their jobs for the rest of the season.

You can’t continue to fire coaches. Eventually, it has to come back to the players and the firing of Mike Smith will shine a light on who isn’t producing as a player.

I dont’ expect a shutout. Hell, the Browns will probably rattle off a couple of touchdowns.

But I do expect a defense that flies to the ball and forces turnovers. Do I dare say I expect a defensive touchdown as well?

Well, maybe im a little to bold with that last part, but I’m confident in Duffner to employ a physical type of defense this weekend.

Bucs BOLD defensive stat predictions: 2 INT, 4 Sacks, 1 FF

2. Peyton Barber goes over 100+ yards on the ground and scores a touchdown in consecutive weeks. (Alex)

The Cleveland Browns have a young and improving defense, but they are ranked 29th in the league in defending the run, allowing an average of 138.2 YPG on the ground. Peyton Barber is coming off of his best game of the season in which he ran for 82 yards on just 13 carries.

The Buccaneers need to do everything they can to keep their defense off the field and I think establishing the run is going to be a huge part of the game plan come Sunday.

Barber finds his groove and goes for 115 and a touchdown on 20+ carries.

3. Duke Johnson Jr. leads the team in yards from scrimmage. (Evan)

Tampa Bay is pretty good against the run, but they are really bad against pass-catching backs.

Through five games, the Bucs have allowed opposing backs to record a 31/333/2 line when it comes to catching balls out of the backfield. This includes two 100-yard performances by Alvin Kamara and Tarik Cohen.

Referring to the latter, the Bears were more than comfortable playing Cohen - a backup - over their own starter in Jordan Howard based off of the matchup. It paid dividends as the Bears dismantled the Bucs in Chicago.

I expect Cleveland to do the exact same with Johnson Jr. this week. Even if Carlos Hyde were still around, this feels like a DJJ game and I think he (DJJ) still would’ve seen more action.

This prediction may come as a surprise considering how poorly the Bucs’ secondary has performed, but the defense as a whole has been terrible all season long.

Todd Haley is no slouch as an offensive coordinator and he will exploit this Tampa Bay weakness this weekend.

4. Kwon Alexander has multiple sacks. (Evan)

Kwon has recorded just one sack in the last 22 games. Whether it be scheme, injury, or just ineffectiveness, it’s an alarming stat for a player that took down the quarterback six times in his first 23 games.

That will change this weekend against the Browns.

First off, with linebackers coach Mark Duffner taking over the defense, he knows what he has in Lavonte David and Alexander. He knows that both players are extremely athletic and can sack the quarterback. Secondly, with Gerald McCoy and Vinny Curry already ruled out, the Bucs will have to find a pass rush somewhere other than the defensive line. Third, the Browns may be without their starting center which would make it harder to identify potential blitzers.

Alexander also hasn’t been the beacon of consistency in 2018. It would be a major confidence booster - not that he really needs it - to have him come out and fly around in his first game with Duffner as DC.

Want another stat that makes this an even bolder prediction? Alexander has never recorded multiple sacks in a game during his entire career.

5. Chris Godwin catches two touchdowns. (Evan)

All eyes - mainly Denzel Ward’s - will be on Mike Evans, which should leave plenty of room for Godwin to operate underneath.

The good thing about Godwin, however, is that he can make plays all over the field. He can beat you on all types of routes.

The Bucs will take advantage of the Browns’ aggressive defense this week by utilizing quick passes to Godwin and DeSean Jackson. Tampa Bay should be able to move the ball, which plays right into Godwin’s hands.

This is because all four of his touchdown receptions have come inside the 10-yard line. He is becoming a major red zone threat with each passing week and that will culminate in a two-touchdown performance on Sunday.

It would be the first time in his career catching multiple scores. For the Bucs’ sake, let’s hope that happens.