The Buccaneers head to the west coast this weekend for a date with the San Francisco 49ers. This will be a tough test for Tampa Bay as they will have to play well on both sides of the ball in order to pull off the upset. To be able to do that, their x-factor will have to be more than one player.
This week’s x-factors are Tristan Wirfs and Luke Goedeke.
The tackle tandem will certainly have their hands full on Sunday afternoon as they face off against one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in Nick Bosa and newly acquired edge defender Chase Young, who is still oozing with potential.
The duo of Bosa and Young combined for 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in last week’s dominating win against Jacksonville. Young has 5.5 sacks on the season while Bosa has 4.5. Bosa has been dominant the last two seasons, having 18.5 sacks last year and 15.5 the year before so while this year’s numbers are a little low, he still is a potential game wrecker if the Bucs cannot contain him.
So that brings us to Wirfs and Goedeke who will have the tall task of slowing them down. The 49ers may try and get favorable matchups and have Bosa face Goedeke. Giving Baker Mayfield time in this game will be critical. The one area that San Francisco has struggled with is in their secondary and particularly with allowing big plays. In order for the Bucs to be able to exploit the mismatches with Evans and Godwin, they will need to provide Mayfield with time, so Wirfs and Goedeke limiting the mistakes is a must.
Wirfs’ transition to the left side could not have started off any better. He seems to have picked up right where he left off and as for Goedeke, his development and improvement from 2022 to 2023 has been massive for this team. Both players are critical pieces to the Bucs future and that will be no different in this matchup.
The 49ers have a ton of talent all over their defense and the Bucs will have to gameplan for it, but hopefully the one on one matchups with Wirfs and Goedeke will be able to be handled well enough for the Bucs offense to remain on schedule and avoid Mayfield being hit or sacked.
The other nine players will have to do their jobs, but the Bucs tackles could make life a whole lot easier for the offense on Sunday.