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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars: Game Preview

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Can the Bucs FINALLY get two in a row?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Jameis Winston is looking for a road win this weekend.
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Outside of their first playoff appearance since 2007, the Buccaneers (4-7) are still searching for back-to-back wins in 2019.

That’s right. The Bucs have yet to win consecutive games in 2019, which obviously, isn’t symmetrical to a playoff run.

Regardless, the Jaguars (4-7) represent the best opportunity of the season to break the cycle for the Bucs.

The only question is: can Bruce Arians and co. get it done?

Overview

  • All-time series record: Jacksonville leads, 4-2, but the Bucs won the most recent matchup, 38-31 in 2015.
  • Longest win streak: The Jags won four in a row from 1998-2011.
  • Largest margin of victory: A 2011 matchup saw the Jags win, 41-14. The 27-point margin of victory is the largest margin of the series.
  • 2019 offensive and defensive rankings: Tampa Bay currently owns the 4th-ranked offense (4th pass, 20th run) and the 21st-ranked defense (31st pass, 2nd run). Jacksonville fields the 11th-best offense (10th pass, 14th run) and the 18th-best defense (10th pass, 29th run).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
This Sunday is a big test for Bruce Arians.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

What To Watch For

  • Bucs’ pass protection vs. Jags’ pass rush: This may just dictate how the game goes. Tampa Bay has to limit Jacksonville’s pass rush.
  • Stopping Fournette: If the Bucs don’t stop this guy, then they likely won’t win.
  • Pressure on Foles: Foles hasn’t been good since his return from injury. Tampa Bay can’t let him get comfortable in the pocket, so pressure will be key for the Bucs.
  • Bucs’ running game: The Jaguars have struggled when it comes to opposing backs, but the Bucs are inconsistent when it comes to running the ball. Which side gives on Sunday?
  • Contain Chark: He’s been awesome in 2019 and should have room to work with, unless Jamel Dean is matched up on him.

Impact Players

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • RB Ronald Jones II: The Jags have been really bad at stopping opposing running backs lately. Like, really bad.
  • WR Mike Evans: He’ll need to open things up for RoJo and the ground game.
  • Bucs’ OTs: They’ll have to limit Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue, which won’t be easy.
  • DT Vita Vea: Jacksonville will want to run Fournette and Vea will be responsible for slowing him down.
  • LB Devin White: The rook continues to improve each week and that should continue this week.
  • CB Jamel Dean: The coaches wised up and played Dean against the Falcons, and look what happened.
Arizona Cardinals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay needs a big day from RoJo.
Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • QB Nick Foles: He hasn’t been very good since his return from injury, so Tampa Bay needs to make sure he doesn’t shake off any rust this week.
  • RB Leonard Fournette: The offense will go through him.
  • WR D.J. Chark: This kid has had a great year and will be the go-to-guy in the passing game on Sunday.
  • DE Yannick Ngakoue: Any above-average pass rusher should concern the Bucs.
  • DE Josh Allen: See above.
  • CB A.J. Bouye: Will he join Mike Evans’ adopted family?

Cool Stats

  • Chris Godwin and Mike Evans became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to each have three games with 150-plus receiving yards in a single season after Godwin’s Week 12 performance against the Atlanta Falcons.
  • Evans has 1,043 receiving yards through 11 games. He needs 16 yards to pass his own mark (1,058 in 2016) for fifth-most, 29 yards to pass Chris Godwin (1,071 in 2019) for fourth-most, 33 yards to pass Joey Galloway (1,075 in 2005) for third-most, 35 yards to pass Keyshawn Johnson (1,077 in 2001) for second- most and 79 yards to pass Evans’ own mark (1,121) for the most receiving yards through 12 games in team history.
  • Since returning from injury in Week 6, Devin White ranks sixth in the NFL with 54 tackles during that span.
  • The Buccaneers have scored 312 points through their first 11 games of the 2019 season, which stand as the most points scored through 11 games in franchise history.
  • Jamel Dean has three games with four-or-more passes defensed this season, which tie him for the most such games in a single season by any player in the NFL since at least 2000. He currently leads all NFL 8t. rookies in passes defensed and ranks tied for second among all players.

*Stats provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications Department.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans
The Bucs have to contain Fournette.
Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

Game Outlook

This is a game the Bucs should win, but as usual, it depends on how many mistakes they make on Sunday.

The Jaguars are a dying team at 4-7. Injuries have taken a toll on the 2019 season, however, they’re still a tough team that has weapons to deploy against opponents.

Tampa Bay is still learning how to win, as well. Last week’s win against the Falcons was a much more impressive win than the one against the Cardinals, so right now, the arrow is up for the Bucs.

They still have to show that they can win on a regular basis, though. That’s easier said than done, BUT, as long as the Bucs can limit the mistakes, then there’s little reason they shouldn’t have a 5-7 record heading into Week 14.