Both teams currently have a three game streak going - the Bucs having won three and the Jaguars have lost three. The Bucs control their own postseason destiny while the Jaguars are trying to avoid falling behind the Indianapolis Colts for first place in the AFC South.
Desperation can do crazy things for a team.
It makes you wonder if the Bucs will lose a little bit of their recent edge and attitude since they’re no longer facing “must win situations” - which could make them vulnerable to a team that is playing with their playoff hopes on the line. However, that team appears to be doing so without their starting quarterback.
While not official as of now, the Jags are in serious danger of starting C.J. Beathard at quarterback on Sunday with starter Trevor Lawrence in concussion protocol. Lawrence apparently suffered the injury in the third quarter of their Sunday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week, though didn’t say anything until after the game. With as poor as their offensive line has been playing as of late, a backup quarterback behind them isn’t exactly a recipe for success, no matter what level of desperation they’re playing with.
On the other side is the Bucs, who seem to be clicking over the last three weeks. While last week was the first time over that span that both sides of the ball played well, the offense has been doing enough to win even though Baker Mayfield did not play well against the Panthers or Falcons. However, now that Chris Godwin is more heavily involved, the offense seems to be unlocking some things we haven’t seen yet - which certainly helped Mayfield finish with over 380 yards and 4 touchdowns last week. Godwin, instrumental in that game, finished with a season high 155 yards on a season high ten receptions.
Add to that another 100-plus yard output from running back Rachaad White and you have a team that seems to be figuring out how to beat you on the ground or in the air. The offensive line deserves some credit there, as well. While they allowed Mayfield to be sacked five times last week - just the second win the Bucs have this season when Mayfield is sacked two or more times - they’ve been playing at a much higher level over the course of the last month, which has led to the Bucs averaging 125 yards on the ground since week 12. That comes after being the NFL’s worst rushing game from weeks 1-11.
Defensively, there’s been some drama. With the conflicting reports and speculation surrounding Devin White’s sudden absence last week, that’s all most people have been able to talk about. White addressed the media saying he hasn’t quit on the team, he loves his teammates and the game of football, there’s no problems between he and Todd Bowles, and that it’s ridiculous that people are talking about him instead of focusing on Mayfield’s performance - so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not he suits up and plays this week. Defensive coordinator Kacey Rodgers told the media that they’re rotating K.J. Britt and White, using Britt in base defense while White has been on the field in passing situations. Whether or not that’s the case on Sunday, we won’t know until the game begins.
The Bucs can get to .500 all-time against the Jaguars Sunday with a win as the Jags currently lead the all-time series 4-3. The Bucs won the first meeting and the last two while the Jags won four in a row from 1998-2011. The Bucs, however, are 2-1 against the Jags at home. Their last meeting came in 2019 when the Bucs won on the road 28-11.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Buccaneers are now 3-point favorites over the Jags with an over/under of 40.5, making it appear the odds makers don’t believe that Lawrence will play. The Jags have failed to cover in three straight games while also losing 10 of their last 11 road games against the NFC. The Bucs have seen their last four games hit the over.
The Buccaneers and Jaguars will face off in Raymond James Stadium at 4:05 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on CBS with Kevin Harland, Trent Green, and Melanie Collins on the call.