The Buccaneers have continued to disappoint this season. With a tough schedule from hereon out, it seems winnable games are getting fewer and farther between. The matchup against Cleveland may be one of the Buccaneers last chances at anything better than a 1-13 season. We can win. Here’s how:
Buccaneers Offense against Cleveland’s Defense
There is no doubt, our anemic offense will have trouble against this defense. Cleveland’s defense is above-average in every way and extremely well-rounded. The defensive line is not quite as aggressive as the one we saw in Minnesota, but those linemen are no slouches either. They are capable of pressure and they do not quit until the whistle blows. Frequent linebacker blitzes also gives the line an extra boost. With the way our offensive line has played, I would count on QB Mike Glennon (#8) getting beat up once again.
The linebackers are extremely competent. They focus mainly on run stopping, but are capable in coverage also. The linebacker corps, and defense as a whole, are very strong, hard hitting tacklers. The Tennessee Titans managed to evade their tackling with shifty, slippery players, but even they eventually fell to the Browns.
This defensive as a whole is very opportunistic, but the secondary in particular is good at capitalizing on mistakes. Glennon may have to take some sacks in order to avoid costly interceptions against this defense.
In addition, this defense as a whole has great ball awareness.
Buccaneers Defense against Cleveland’s Offense
This offense is inconsistent and they certainly make mistakes, but they have a drive to win and can never be counted out. They have that intangible that Tebow had: the ability to come back in miraculous fashion that you have to see to believe.
QB Brian Hoyer (#6) is inaccurate in the long ball. It does not help that his receivers are not exactly go-getters – we won’t really have to worry about them catching an overthrown jump ball or laying out to make a catch. They are also not averse to throwing a deep ball into coverage, although that probably will not be a problem with the Buccaneers secondary. However, this offense runs a good amount of trick plays, including play action bootlegs (which it seems to favor). Expect our defense to get faked out quite frequently. Additionally, Hoyer is always trying to extend plays. This leads to mistakes a lot of the time, but he is occasionally successful. Again, he does not quit until the whistle blows.
This offensive line is inconsistent in its run blocking, and the running backs are not ones to steamroll through tackles. We saw a similar run game in Minnesota and we saw how they ran all over us. So despite this weakness, I would still expect them to have a big running day.
Spotlight: Perennial Losers: The Cleveland Browns vs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
These two teams have been terrible for as long as they have existed. Tampa, of course, had its formidable years when it brought home a championship, but that was more of a fluke than a turnaround. As a whole, these two notoriously bad teams have been jokes of the league for pretty much the entire time they have existed. Cleveland is having an up year, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. So here we have another matchup between these two perennial losers, both with brand new head coaches, both looking for a new start, both looking to turn things around. It might be a good game. It might end with one of us being embarrassed. But in the end we are the same and whoever the winner may be, they will still be commiserating with the loser.
We could win today. Maybe. But here are our predictions:
- Glennon will spend a good part of the day on his back.
- He will be pressured and should take a few sacks instead of throwing costly interceptions.
- The defense is going up against an inconsistent offense that has that intangible that turns in to wins.
- Hoyer makes mistakes trying to extend plays, so the defense should attempt to capitalize.
- The defense will be tricked by this offense’s use of play action bootlegs and other trick plays.
- Cleveland’s run game is similar to the one we saw last week in Minnesota. They are not ones to steamroll through tackles, but will probably have their best day yet against our anemic defense.