Will the Bucs be able to notch consecutive wins over teams with a winning record for just the second time since 2009?
- All-time series record: The Raiders lead the series, 7-3.
- Longest win streak: Las Vegas won three straight games from 1979-1993.
- Largest margin of victory: The Bucs were creamed, 45-0, back in 1999.
- 2020 offensive and defensive rankings: Tampa Bay is currently ranked 14th in total offense (12th passing, 16th rushing), and third in total defense (12th passing, 2nd rushing). Oakland, meanwhile, holds the league’s 20th-ranked offense (18th passing, 22nd rushing) and the 12th-ranked defense (14th passing, 12th rushing).
What To Watch For
- No Trent Brown, no problem: The Raiders showed what they’re capable on offense when Henry Ruggs III and Brown are in the lineup. The Chiefs, who are considered a solid defense, couldn’t stop them, whatsoever. A lot of that had to do with Brown, who won’t play against the Bucs due to testing positive for COVID-19. His replacement, Sam Young, has played really well in Brown’s absence, so it may not be as a big a loss as we think.
- Bucs offense vs. Raiders defense: This is about as vanilla as you can get when it comes to matchups, but don’t be fooled by the Raiders’ overall defensive rankings. They’ve played one less game than Tampa Bay (and a lot of other teams) and are certainly exploitable. This could be a big day for the Bucs’ offense. But at the same time, the Las Vegas defense hit a groove in the second half against the Chiefs, so it may not be a walk in the park like most think it will be.
- Chris Godwin breakout: I mean, he broke out with his incredible 2019 season, but he has yet to eclipse the 80-yard mark in three games and has one touchdown on the season so far. Something tells me he’ll not only get his first 100-yard game of the year, but he also snags two touchdowns.
- Maxx Crosby vs. Tristan Wirfs: Crosby is the real deal and so far, Wirfs is as well. This will be a fun matchup to watch.
- The Return of Carl: That’s right! The Bucs get to reunite —albeit on separate sides of the field— with Carl Nassib, who racked up 12.5 sacks in two years with the Bucs before getting paid by the Raiders. Will the former Buc be able to make plays on Sunday?
- QB Tom Brady: It’s obvious you’re going to see his name in this exact spot every week unless something crazy happens. This has the potential to be Brady’s best game as a Buc.
- RB Ronald Jones II: He’s been on a tear the last three weeks and is in line for another big game on Sunday.
- WR Chris Godwin: As I mentioned earlier, this feels like it will be a big game for Godwin.
- DL William Gholston: Ndamukong Suh —and the rest of the defensive front— took care of business last week, but now it’s Gholston’s turn to step up in place of Vita Vea.
- LBs Devin White and Lavonte David: I feel like I’d be remiss if I only mentioned one of these guys. They are the heart and soul of the defense and the best linebacker duo in the NFL.
- CB Jamel Dean: I know Carlton Davis III usually shadows the best receiver on the opposing side of the ball, but I’m not sure if he has the speed to keep up with Ruggs. Dean does, however, so you have to wonder if he’ll see Ruggs on a more consistent basis.
- QB David Carr: He was dropping dimes down the field on a regular basis against the Chiefs. Tampa Bay can’t let that happen this week.
- RB Josh Jacobs: This dude is a monster and is one of the toughest —if not the toughest— guys to bring down in the NFL. If anyone can rush for 100 yards against the Bucs, it’s Jacobs.
- WR Henry Ruggs III: It’s clear that this is a different offense when Ruggs is in the lineup.
- DE Maxx Crosby: He’s building upon an impressive rookie year and is becoming a consistent playmaker at his position. Crosby is currently tied for 12th with four sacks despite playing one less game than most of the people in front of him.
- LB Nick Kwiatkoski: Another important piece to the defense and much like Ruggs, it’s pretty clear that this is a different defense with Kwiatkoski in the lineup.
- S Jeff Heath: Injuries and COVID have taken a toll on the Raiders’ secondary. Heath came up with a big interception against the Chiefs. The Raiders will need him to make even more plays against the Bucs on Sunday.
- The Buccaneers offense has scored a touchdown on 17-of-22 trips inside the red zone this season and is one of only five teams in the NFL with a perfect scoring percentage on red zone drives.
- The Buccaneers held the Packers to 107 net passing yards. If Tampa Bay holds Las Vegas under 125 net passing yards, it will mark the first time the team has held consecutive opponents under 125 net passing yards since 2008 (11/16/08 vs. Minnesota-11/23/08 at Detroit).
- Tampa Bay rushed for 150 yards against Green Bay. With 150 or more rushing yards at Las Vegas, it would mark the first time the Buccaneers have posted consecutive games with at least 150 rushing yards since 2015 (10/11/15 vs. Jacksonville-10/25/15 at Washington).
- Brady has 14 passing touchdowns, tied for the most through six games in franchise history. He needs one passing touchdown at Las Vegas to record the most through seven games in franchise history.
- Jones II has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the past three contests. With 100-or-more rushing yards at Last Vegas, it would mark only the second-longest streak of 100-yard rushing games in franchise history, trailing only James Wilder’s six consecutive games from 1984-85.
The Bucs should win this game, but it won’t be easy by any means. And that’s not because this is the NFL. It’s because the Raiders are a good team.
I mean, being a good team is a prerequisite to beating the Chiefs, right? Tampa Bay’s offense can certainly exploit the Raiders’ defense, however, keep in mind that the Raiders’ defense only allowed eight second-half points in the win over the Chiefs. The unit can get it done when everything clicks.
It won’t surprise me if the Raider defense puts the Bucs in a bind early and forces the offense to figure things out. But I’m not so sure the defense can keep up with this offense for an entire 60 minutes, regardless of what happened against the Chiefs.
The biggest question is whether or not the Bucs can play another clean game. I’m not talking another performance with zero sacks, zero penalties, zero and turnovers. I am, however, talking about avoiding the dumb mistakes we saw through the first five weeks of the season.
If Tampa Bay can do that, then it will overcome any fast start from the Raiders and win this game. Or we could see the same result we saw against the Packers. I think this team realized what it’s capable of when it does play a clean game, which should bleed over into this week.
Expect the Bucs to hold a 5-2 record heading into their Monday Night matchup with the Giants.