So, the Buccaneers have been many things this season. When people describe the Buccaneers this season what do they say? Aggressive? Elite? No, the words that are being used the most is soft and bad. This team had a must-win game last week vs a division opponent in the Carolina Panthers and came out completely flat. A lot of Bucs fans have already waved the white flag on this Buccaneers season. I, however, am going to wait. Is it unlikely that they make the playoffs? Yes, yes it is. That does not mean they can’t beat up on another division rival in their own house. Let’s see what I think goes down this Sunday.
Winston silences the doubters (for now)
Franchise Quarterback Jameis Winston, yes I said FRANCHISE Quarterback has been under a lot of heat this week. After a strong showing in Buffalo with an injured shoulder, Winston came out vs Carolina and laid an egg. Even though it was not 100% his fault because the offense could not seem to stop the Panthers pass rush no matter what they did, the truth is Winston also just did not play well. I think Winston simplifies his game this week and takes what the defense gives him. That is what Winston has been doing all season and in only 2 games has he tried to do too much and it hurt him. Winston should bounce back against a surprisingly decent Saints defense. Relax Bucs fans, Winston is getting better. It is a process and he is only 23 years old.
Desean Jackson takes a deep one to the house
I was a huge fan of the Desean Jackson signing when it happened and still am a fan of it. He just brings a lot of excitement to the team and we have all seen flashes of his elite speed. Two weeks ago in Buffalo Jackson had a 50-yard catch called back because of a hold. This week, not only will Jackson catch a deep pass, but he will also take it to the house. Saints secondary is good but inexperienced, Jackson has a chance to have some success.
Vernon Hargreaves continues his success
Vernon Hargreaves is another player that has gotten a lot of heat from Bucs fans this season and for good reason. Hargreaves was just playing way too soft early in the year so in Buffalo, he got moved into the slot and performed well. This past Sunday vs the Panthers he was even better. Brent Grimes was out with injury so Hargreaves played the left side starting corner and did really well. He looked much more confident and aggressive. I think Hargreaves has found something that works and I think if he continues to use that strategy against opposing receivers he should be fine. The only QB he has picked off in his young career is Brees. Does Hargreaves get another this weekend?
Patrick Murray remains perfect
The Bucs have not had much luck with kickers recently but have seemed to found a good one in a familiar face. Former Bucs kicker Patrick Murray was the kicker for the team in 2014 and performed well. He got cut in 2015 after he suffered an injury. Now Pat is back and better than ever! I have wanted Murray back since Aguayo started his struggles and he is making me look pretty smart so far. He has not missed a kick yet and that includes nailing kicks from 41 and 50 yards along with making all extra points. I think when the Bucs score points, Murray is the guy that will be able to get them 7 or 3. The Saints play in a dome so wind and other weather factors won’t be a problem. The last time Murray kicked for the Bucs in the dome he nailed a 55 yarder. Let’s hope he does it again and makes us forget about Nick Folk and Roberto Aguayo.
Big game for the Bucs this weekend, win and you still have some hope. Lose and the season is pretty much over if it was not already. Let’s hope for a game where the Bucs can move the ball on offense and contain Brees on defense. It will certainly be a challenge but what better way to start November than to beat your division rival, the division, snap their 5 game win streaks AND beat them in their house. Bucs can hopefully rebound before they return home for a game against the Jets. Enjoy the game and GO BUCS!