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Bucs Upcoming Opponent Scouting Report – Week 8 – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bucs look to make it two in a row against the state of Ohio as they face off against the Cincinnati Bengals. Looking at the statistics would make you think these two teams are mirror images of each other. Can Tampa Bay get a big road win or will they return to their losing ways in the queen city?

Tale of the Tape

Ranking Buccaneers Bengals
Total Offense 449.5 (1st) 336.0 (25th)
Points Scored 27.8 (8th) 26.3 (11th)
Passing Off 364.0 (1st) 249.7 (21st)
Rushing Off 85.5 (29th) 86.3 (28th)
Total Defense 417.5 (29th) 429.4 (31st)
Opp Scoring 32.7 (32nd) 29.0 (28th)
Opp Passing 327.5 (32nd) 300.7 (29th)
Opp Rushing 90.0 (6th) 128.7 (26th)
Turnover Ratio -9 (30th) 0 (17th)

Buccaneers Offense vs. Bengals Defense

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers top-ranked offense comes into Cincinnati to face a Bengals defense that statistically looks a lot like the one the practice against each week. The Bengals are 28th in scoring defense, 31st in yardage (actually worse than Tampa Bay) and 29th against the pass. They aren’t so great against the run, either, surrendering 128.7 yards a game. What makes things a little worse for the Bengals is they are a very banged up football team. Both starting cornerbacks Darquez Denard and Dre Kirkpatrick are on the injury report this week, as well as the villainous Vontaze Burfict, one of the dirtiest players in the NFL.

The Bengals shouldn’t be able to stop the Bucs’ offense – so the question is how many times will the Bucs stop themselves with a turnover or penalty? Cincinnati isn’t like Clevleand, who led the league in forcing turnovers. The Bengals are middling around 18th in the league in turnovers forced.

If Winston can deliver a ballgame where he doesn’t turn it over, Tampa Bay has a great shot at putting points on the board.

Bengals Offense vs Buccaneers Defense

So the Bucs defense played a superb game against the Browns – well, by their standards at least – and face a Bengals offense that is efficient at putting points on the board but not great at anything in particular. Andy Dalton is a decent quarterback who can get hot and torch you, especially if you don’t pressure him. Joe Mixon leads the rushing attack with Gio Benard dealing with a knee injury and not likely to play. A.J. Green remains one of the top receivers in the league while rookie Tyler Boyd is providing a good compliment to Green.

I think the big question here is whether the Duffner effect for Tampa Bay was a one-game fluke or can Tampa Bay sustain “mediocre” defense. If they can get mediocre, they can win most games they play, including this one.  This week the Bucs won’t be facing a rookie quarterback with limited weapons, so it will be fascinating to see how they do.

Special Teams

Chandler Catanzaro’s job may have hung in the balance when he blasted a 59-yd game winning field goal in Overtime last week. He’s had a rough run, missing three extra points and choking on the game-winner in regulation that sent Tampa Bay into overtime. He’s not off the ledge though and needs a good week to solidify his standing in Tampa Bay.  The Bengals Randy Bullock has been a bit more reliable as a kicker. He’s made all of his extra points and is 8-of-10 on field goals with a long of 51. Punting-wise, Cincinnati’s Kevin Huber has a solid average, as does the Bucs’ Bryan Anger. The Bucs’ only dangerous returner is Desean Jackson on punts, but he’s used sparingly there. The Bengals are getting good production from Alex Erickson (31.1 yd average on kickoff returns).

Interesting Notes

  • The Bucs have a winning record against Cincinnati, owning the series 7-4. The Bucs have won 6 of the last 7 meetings.
  • Jameis Winston has 102.2 rating in his past 3 starts vs. the AFC.
  • In his past 3 home games, Andy Dalton has 7 TDs and 1 int.

Prediction

I can’t trust the Bucs to win this game. I think they’re the better team. I think statistically they have advantages in all the right places and the Bengals are coming in a very banged up football team. Yet until the offense can prove they can complete a game without turning the football over and the defense can show last week’s solid performance against Cleveland wasn’t a fluke, I can’t with good conscience pick the Bucs to win this game on the road.

Prediction: Bengals 30, Buccaneers 27

 

J.C. De La Torre

J.C. De La Torre

Want to give JC a piece of your mind? E-mail him at JC@whatthebuc.net JC De La Torre is formerly a columnist/blogger for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog site BucsNation.com where in 2016, he was nominated as best sportswriter in Tampa Bay by Creative Loafing. Previously, he served as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report on Tampa Bay sports, an editor and featured columnist for SB Nation Tampa Bay covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Gators, wrote for NFL.com’s Blog Blitz and contributed to Pewter Report, one of the top magazines on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. JC is also a filmmaker, comic writer and rabid Whovian.

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