The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the verge of a Titanic level shipwreck and standing in their way of avoiding it is an iceberg by the name of the Tennessee Titans. After the defense allowed 470 yards and 5 touchdowns to rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud - including a 75 yard game winning touchdown drive that spanned 40 seconds at the end of the game - the defense and head coach Todd Bowles have faced extreme scrutiny and the question is being asked whether or not Bowles can survive this season or whether the Bucs will be in the market for a head coach come January.
If the Bucs win Sunday, all hope is not lost. However, there isn’t much confidence that the team and coach can right the ship and get a win, regardless of who the opponent on the other side is. Carlton Davis, who allowed three touchdowns in coverage last week, took it on the chin and owned up to his poor play. Hopefully he comes out and looks more like the shut down corner the Bucs signed to an extension last year.
The Titans will be starting rookie Will Levis who has looked solid in his two appearances this season. One of the things this Titans offense can do with Levis that they weren’t doing with Ryan Tannehill is utilizing DeAndre Hopkins in the deep passing game. For the Bucs, that’s a serious concern given how the secondary looked last week.
Since the bye, Tampa Bay has allowed 353, 250, 324, and 470 passing yards during their four game losing streak and have just nine sacks over that same span. The pass rush isn’t getting home and the secondary is n’t holding up. That’s not a recipe for a lot of wins.
On the flip side, it was nice to see the offense put up some points. Granted, it was the first time since October of 1985 that the Bucs scored 37 or more points and lost - snapping a 35 game winning streak - and it seems unlikely they’ll hit that mark again this season. However, Rachaad White has been a breath of fresh air. Over the last three weeks, White has gone for 99, 109, and 119 total yards and had a pair of touchdowns last week. His utilization in the short passing game in order to allow him to make plays with his legs has begun to help get the offense back on track and seems to have rejuvenated White.
This marks the thirteenth all-time meeting between the Bucs and Titans and the Titans lead the series 10-2. Everyone remembers the “Number One vs Number Two Pick” game that kicked off both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota’s careers, one that started with Winston’s first pass being a pick six and the Bucs going on to lose 42-14. The Titans have won the last three matchups with the Bucs’ most recent win coming in 2007. Good news for Bucs fans is that both of their wins have come at home.
Now, to be fair, the all-time series includes their past games against the Houston Oilers, so against Tennessee, the Bucs are 1-6 - a nice even 1-6 split between the Tennessee side and Houston side of their history against each other.
Baker Mayfield has played two games against the Titans in his career, splitting the two to a 1-1 record. Meanwhile, Mike Evans had quite an impressive day in the last meeting between these two, finishing with 11 receptions on 12 targets for 198 yards and two touchdowns.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Buccaneers are 1-point home favorites with an over/under of 39. The Bucs have now lost seven straight games against AFC teams. Over the last six Buccaneers games, the road team has covered the spread while the Titans’ last six road games have hit the under.
The Bucs and Titans kickoff at 1:00 p.m. ET in Raymond James Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS with Andrew Catalon, Tiki Barber, and Matt Ryan on the call.