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How much has Tampa Bay’s defense improved over the last two weeks?

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As always, the numbers can help tell the story.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars
Devin White and the Bucs’ defense has looked very good over the last two weeks.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tampa Bay won two games in a row after last week’s win over the Jaguars, which is something the team hasn’t been able to do all year.

A lot of the winning streak has been credited to the defense, and there’s plenty of reason why. The Bucs have looked much better on that side of the ball when it comes to multiple phases of the game. Communication, execution, and creating turnovers are just a few examples to name.

Bruce Arians even talked about it during Monday’s media availability. “After watching the film, I think defensively, we’re finally understanding situational football a lot better,” he told reporters. “Guys’ communication, short-yardage, red zone, third down is becoming really fun to watch and watching the growth. Obviously, [we’ve been] rushing the passer extremely well for the last few weeks, but again on the back end, we’re holding our guys [and] we’re covering our guys.”

But how much has the defense really improved? And how much does that have to do with the Bucs’ last two opponents? How good were the Falcons and Jaguars (numbers-wise) before they played the Bucs?

I decided to jump in and take a look at the Bucs’ numbers over the first 10 games and compare them to the last two games. I will also cross-reference the Jags’ and Falcons’ cumulative performances through Weeks 1-11 in those areas, which will help add context to the last two games.

I know, the last two games are a tiny sample size compared to the first 10 games, but improvement is improvement and the last two weeks have given the Bucs plenty to build off.

Arizona Cardinals v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
JPP’s return has been huge for the Bucs.
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Also keep in mind that the Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, and Vikings all had bye weeks during Week 12, so there’s a chance that the Bucs’ defensive stats could look even better if those teams had played. It’s nothing decisive, but it’s certainly something to consider.

It’s probably better just to bullet point this one. There’s a good chance context can get lost if I try and write this post in the form of an editorial, so let me just apologize for the boring display in advance!

Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!


The following numbers apply to the Bucs’ defensive performance over the last two weeks compared to the first ten games:


So now, let’s add some context to the situation. We will take a look at how the Jags and Falcons did in these same areas, but on the offensive side of the ball through Weeks 1-11:


Don’t go just yet...

There’s one last factor to mix in before I let you go and that’s how the Bucs performed against bad offenses during the first 10 games of the year.

Put it this way: the Bucs were supposed to beat the Falcons and the Jags, who are two bad teams, right? That’s a good sign, especially when you consider the fact that they let two inconsistent offenses in the Giants and the Titans make enough plays to win the game. The idea that the Bucs are beginning to put the clamps down on average offenses is an encouraging sign, even if it is just renders a modicum of encouragement.

So what do you think? How much of the Bucs’ improvement on defense is attributed to the actual defense or just the opposing offense? Is it a combination of both? Let us know below!

Poll

The Bucs’ defense is....

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    vastly improved.
    (65 votes)
  • 72%
    getting better.
    (310 votes)
  • 11%
    taking advantage of bad opponents.
    (50 votes)
  • 0%
    not improved at all.
    (2 votes)
427 votes total Vote Now