As Bruce Arians prepares to take on his former team, the Bucs prepare to take on a team that has gotten the better of them as of late. Granted, the man calling the shots for the Bucs was the one leading the Cards in the last two match-ups but there’s more to the story than just that one man.
The Arizona Cardinals lead the all time series 11-9 having won the last three games. The longest win streak also belongs to the Cardinals with five straight from 1986-1988, back when they were the St. Louis and then the Phoenix Cardinals.
Jameis Winston has yet to experience a victory over Arizona, going 32-for-62 for 304 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions in the two games. However, this will be Winston’s first time playing them in Raymond James Stadium.
The big story this week is wide receiver Mike Evans. After having only 89 yards in the first two games, Evans is now only 158 yards from 1,000 on the season. He also has the opportunity to become the first receiver in NFL history to put together three consecutive games with 175 receiving yards or more. Against the Cardinals, Evans has nine receptions on 26 targets for 165 yards and two touchdowns in two games. His 34.6% catch rate is his worst against any team Evans has faced - and the task won’t get any easier facing Patrick Peterson again.
This is obviously Kyler Murray’s first appearance against the Buccaneers. As for his teammates? Larry Fitzgerald is preparing to face the Bucs for the seventh time, having come out on top in four of the six previous meetings. Fitz has 34 receptions on 60 targets for 486 yards and five touchdowns. Fitzgerald’s 56.7% catch rate against Tampa Bay is his second lowest against any NFC opponent in his career.
David Johnson is set to return, having just twelve carries for 45 yards as well as three receptions for 98 yards in his lone game against the Buccaneers. He has yet to score a touchdown against the Bucs in any capacity.
Finally, Patrick Peterson. Peterson has four passes defensed and three interceptions in three career games against the Bucs and has yet to experience defeat in games against Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers and Cardinals are set to kick off at 1:00 p.m. EST at Raymond James Stadium.