Three-game losing streaks are never fun. Even if you’ve experienced them as often as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5) have over the last decade.
The Bucs lost another close game to the Titans last week and now, they have to turn around and travel across the country to take on the Seattle Seahawks (6-2).
But it may not be as daunting as it sounds. The Seahawks aren’t an unbeatable team by any means. There are plenty of areas on the field that the Bucs can take advantage of if they execute properly and don’t make stupid mistakes.
- All-time series record: Seattle leads, 8-5. The Bucs are 3-4 at home and 2-4 on the road.
- Playoff history: These teams have yet to meet in the postseason.
- Longest win streak: The Seahawks won four straight from 1976-1996.
- Largest margin of victory: Tampa Bay thrashed Seattle, 38-15 in 2010.
- 2019 offensive and defensive rankings: The Bucs have the 15th-best offense in the league right now (9th pass, 19th run) and the 18th-best defense (31st pass, 1st run). Seattle holds the 9th-best offense (13th pass, 9th run) and the 23rd-best defense (27th pass, 16th run).
What To Watch For
- Pissed off for greatness: The Bucs are officially pissed after last week’s loss to the Titans. Will they channel the anger into a productive win or just another frustrating loss?
- Containing DangeRuss: Wilson is playing at a MVP-type level right now. Tampa Bay will have to limit him if it wants any chance at winning.
- Bucs’ ground attack: You can run on this Seattle defense, but you have to pick and choose your spots. A smart, efficient ground attack could really turn the tide in the Bucs’ favor.
- Seahawks’ pass rush: They have Jadeveon Clowney, but not much else outside of him. The Bucs can effectively isolate a single pass rusher (see Aaron Donald), so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with Clowney and others.
- Bucs’ pass rush: Seattle’s offensive line isn’t that great. This would be a great week for Tampa Bay’s pass rush to take the next step.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- QB Jameis Winston: This team is going to go as far as his play allows.
- RB Ronald Jones II: Seattle isn’t great at defending the run, especially up the gut. Jones’ skill set should come in handy in this one.
- WR Mike Evans: He’s yet to string together consecutive 100 yard games, but this could be the game that breaks the mold.
- DL Vita Vea: Seattle’s OC Brian Schottenheimer is adamant about running the ball and Vea will be the key in stopping Seattle’s ground game.
- OLB Jason Pierre-Paul: He looked great in his return against the Titans and should have another big day this week.
- S Jordan Whitehead: Likely tasked with monitoring Wilson, Whitehead will be an important player in this game.
- QB Russell Wilson: He’s arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and can kill you in multiple ways.
- RB Chris Carson: Carson seems to be over his early-season fumbling issues and has had a very solid 2019.
- WR Tyler Lockett: The Seahawks’ go-to-guy should find some room to work with this week.
- DE Jadeveon Clowney: We’ve seen the Bucs’ offensive line struggle in pass protection and that’s what usually brings the offense down. They will need to find a way to slow down Clowney.
- MLB Bobby Wagner: A smart, athletic linebacker who can also pick it off and take it to the house if he gets the chance. Wagner will be all over the field on Sunday.
- CB Shaquill Griffin: Seattle no longer employs the “Legion of Boom”, but Griffin is a solid corner and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the league’s best receivers.
- K Matt Gay has made 15 consecutive kicks between field goals and extra points since the start of Week 4. He currently ranks tied for eighth in the NFL with a 87.5 percent field-goal conversion rate.
- The Buccaneers have held each of their past two opponents under 275 net yards. If the team holds Seattle under 275 net yards, it will mark the first time since 2007 that Tampa Bay has held at least three consecutive opponents under 275 net yards (Weeks 13-16, 2007).
- The Buccaneers have held opponents to just 480 rushing yards this season, the fewest allowed through seven games in team history. If the team holds Seattle under 127 rushing yards, they will have allowed the fewest rushing yards through eight games in team history (607 in 2005).
- WR Mike Evans caught 11 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns at Tennessee. With at least 10 receptions for 175 or more yards and two touchdowns at Seattle, he would be the first player in NFL history to record consecutive games of that nature.
- QB Jameis Winston has thrown for 14 touchdowns through seven games, tied for the most through seven games in team history. He needs one touchdown pass to surpass Steve DeBerg (14 in 1985) for fifth-most, two more to tie Josh Freeman (16 in 2012) and Brad Johnson (16 in 2003) for third-most and three more to tie Ryan Fitzpatrick (17 in 2018) and Winston’s own mark (17 in 2016) for the most passing touchdowns by a Buccaneers quarterback through eight games in team history.
There’s plenty of reason to fear this game, but then again, there’s plenty of reason to think the Bucs can pull out a win at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle loves to run the ball, almost to its own detriment. The Bucs should be able to take that aspect of the offense away, but that means they’ll have to deal with Russell Wilson in his element, which is usually not good.
But the Bucs have shown the ability to contain Wilson over the last two meetings (2013 & 2016) and have won four of the last five against the Seahawks. He’s obviously a much better quarterback since the 2016 season, but at least there’s a record of success against him for the Bucs. It’s not like we are asking the team to start a new trend or anything like that.
The formula is simple: contain Wilson and don’t turn the ball over. I think the Bucs will be able to do both and come out with a win in Seattle.