The Buccaneers are back home at Raymond James stadium for the first time since September 22nd as they will take on an improving Arizona Cardinals team.
The Bucs are on a four game losing streak coming off an overtime loss to the Seahawks 40-34. The Bucs are also 0-3 at home and will be looking for their first win of the season at Raymond James Stadium.
The Cardinals come to Tampa with a 3-5-1 record and are coming off a 28-25 loss to San Francisco. The Cardinals also feature the number one NFL pick Kyler Murray who is improving week by week.
Murray has passed for 2.229 yards this season and has ran the ball for 313 yard which is the best on the Cardinals. Murray will present a different set of challenges for this Bucs defense as he is extremely dangerous once he gets outside the pocket.
One of the keys to winning this game for the Bucs will be to keep Murray in the pocket. Murray is somewhat similar to Russell Wilson in that when he gets outside the pocket, he can beat you with legs and has at his disposable one of the best receivers to ever play the game in Larry Fitzgerald.
Vernon Hargreaves will have the challenge of going up against Fitzgerald, and just from a size stand point, the small Hargreaves could have a tough time against the bigger Fitzgerald.
The Cardinals will also get running back David Johnson back for this game. Johnson is averaging 3.9 yards per carry and Will again be the feature back for the Cardinals.
Running back Kenyon Drake adds another dimension to this Arizona offense that they did not have before. Drake picked up at the trade deadline had a nice game against the 49ers running for 115 yards and averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
The Bucs number one run defense giving up 70.8 yards on the ground has been able to shut down the top running backs that they have played against this season.
The Cardinals defense is ranked 30th in the NFL giving up 408 yards a game, but the defensive line boasts two of the premier linemen in the league in Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs.
Jones has 9.5 sacks on the season and this duo could pose some problems for the Bucs offensive line and Jameis Winston.
The Cardinals defensive line will try to get pressure on Winston and force him into making poor decisions with the ball.
This game has the potential to be a high scoring affair as both teams have shown that they put points on the board quickly.
The Bucs have the number four scoring offense in the league at 28.8 points per game, while the Cardinals are ranked 19th averaging 22 points a game.
Tight end OJ Howard will be back for this game for the Bucs after missing the last two with a hamstring injury. Cam Brate who had also been battling injuries was a full go at practice on Thursday and should be ready to go on Sunday.
Ronald Jones will get his second start at running back. Jones, who gained 82 yards passing and receiving in Seattle last week will be going against a Cardinals defense that gives up 127 yards a game on the ground and 4.5 yards per carry.
The Mike Evans/Patrick Peterson matchup should be a good one. Evans is coming two of the best games of his career with 23 catches for 378 yards and three touchdowns.
If you shut Evans down, Chris Godwin is waiting on the other side. Shut Godwin down, you have Evans waiting. You can’t double team both.
If the Bucs ever figure out how to properly use tight end OJ Howard, this offense will be lethal.
This should be an entertaining game. The team that has the ball last could be in position to win the game.
With the Bucs playing at home for the first time in forever, the Bucs will win this one in a shootout 34-31.