Tampa Bay is onto Cincinnati after a thrilling overtime win against the Cleveland Browns.
The Bengals are currently 4-3 on the season, good for second place in the AFC North. A litany of injuries have hit the team, however, and the result is a two-game losing streak.
Can the Bucs pull off a big win on the road? Let’s dive into this week’s preview.
- All-time series: Tampa Bay leads the all-time series 7-4. The Bucs are 2-2 at home and 5-2 on the road.
- Longest win streak: The Bucs won six in a row from 1995-2010.
- Largest victory: Cincinnati suffered a humiliating 35-0 defeat in 1998.
- 2018 offensive and defensive rankings: The Bucs have moved back into first place in total offense (1st pass, 31st run) and the 29th ranked defense (32 pass, 6th run). Cincinnati is 25th in total offense (20th pass, 28th run) and 31st in total defense (29th pass, 26th run)
What to watch for
- Life without Kwon Alexander: How will Tampa Bay’s defense perform without their starting middle linebacker?
- The Bengals’ injuries: As mentioned earlier, the Bengals have a ton of injuries that will likely affect the game.
- Andy Dalton vs. Jameis Winston: Two up-and-down quarterbacks with two of the quickest releases in the NFL. Should be a fun matchup.
- Bengals’ receivers vs Bucs’ secondary: Everyone knows A.J. Green, but Tyler Boyd may be the one to pay attention to Sunday.
- Bucs’ running game: They are going against one of the worst run defenses in the league again. They have to find success here.
- QB Jameis Winston: He has to cut down on the turnovers if the Bucs want to win.
- RB Peyton Barber: Can he find his groove like he did in Atlanta?
- RG Caleb Benenoch/Evan Smith: Geno Atkins is hungry and both of these guys have to find a way to stop him.
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul: The most consistent performer on defense will need to come through yet again this week.
- LB Lavonte David: With Alexander out, David is needed more than ever.
- DB Carlton Davis: He will be responsible for covering Green, need I say more?
- QB Andy Dalton: Just like Winston, if he cuts down on the turnovers, then the Bengals win.
- RB Joe Mixon: The Bengals are going to ride Mixon into the ground on Sunday.
- WR Tyler Boyd: With all eye on Green, Boyd should find plenty of room to operate.
- DT Geno Atkins: The injuries at linebacker and in the secondary make Atkins all the more important.
- DE Carlos Dunlap: Success on defense comes in the form of pressure from the defensive line this week.
- DB William Jackson: One of the league’s budding corners will most likely be responsible for containing Mike Evans.
- Tampa Bay recorded five sacks against Cleveland. With five or more sacks at Cincinnati, the team will have consecutive games with at least five sacks for the first time since 2004 (11/21/04 vs. San Francisco-11/14/04 at Atlanta).
- Evans has 591 receiving yards through six games. He needs 83 more to pass Keyshawn Johnson (673 in 2001) for the most receiving yards by a Buccaneers player through the team’s seven games of the season.
- Tampa Bay’s offense has been on a historic pace through the first six games of the season. The team’s 2,184 passing yards are the second-most through the first six games in NFL history.
- Through six games, Tampa Bay leads the league in total yards per game and passing yards per game, while ranking fourth in yards per play and tying for eighth in points scored.
*stats provided by Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications Department
This game could get ugly for both teams if they play like they have in recent weeks.
Not to sound cliche, but the team that makes the least amount of mistakes and the team that can run the ball will walk away victorious.
Injuries have hit both teams hard and it will be interesting to see how they can overcome said injuries.
As usual, if you’re a betting person, don’t take this game.