The first place Tampa bay Buccaneers will go for their third win a row this weekend when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers at Raymond James Stadium.
This will be the second home game for the Buccaneers this season. This will be the first home game where a small number of fans will be allowed into the stadium.
The Chargers come in starting a rookie quarterback in Justin Herbert. Tyrod Taylor the designated starter at the beginning of the season, is on the IR with a punctured lung.
This will be Herberts’ third start of the season. He is completing 70% of his passes and has two touchdown passes and two interceptions on the season.
Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles had high praise for Herberts this week. “He has two games under his belt and I think he has a lot of poise in the pocket. He can make some great throws, he doesn’t feel pressure around him, he keeps his head down the field, he can run with the football and he makes great reads. I think he’s off to a great start.”
The Bucs defense blitzed on 60 percent of the passing attempts by Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien in Denver last week. Herberts has been very adept at handling the blitz in his two games but would expect to see another high number of blitzes by the defense.
The Chargers will also be without one of their starting wide receivers in Mike Williams. Williams is out with a hamstring injury.
This leaves Keenan Allen as the go-to receiver for the. Chargers LA will also make use of running back Austin Ekeler in the passing game.
The Chargers also have running back Melvin Ingram, safety Derwin James, and cornerback Chris Harris on injured reserve.
The Chargers are also banged up along the offensive line. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey was placed on IR, and the Chargers are also dealing with injuries to Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner.
The Buccaneers are banged up as well coming into this game.
Chris Godwin is out with a hamstring injury and is not expected to be back until week six.
Wide receiver Scotty Miller is also banged up and is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game.
Leonard Fournette, who the Bucs picked up right before the start of the season is out with an ankle injury.
There were questions all week about defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting being healthy and his ability to play. Murphy-Bunting did practice on Friday and will play with no limitations.
The Bucs front seven should be able to take advantage of those injuries along the offensive line and make the afternoon miserable for quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Bucs defense has six sacks and has created 11 turnovers in the last two weeks according to PFF. , They should be able to continue creating turnovers this week against the rookie quarterback.
The Bucs will once again be without two key components of their offense in Godwin and Fournette.
With Fournette being out, that opens the door for the third-round pick from Vanderbilt Ke’Shawn Vaughan to see his first action of the season.
Vaughan will be used to spell Ronald Jones at running back along with LeSean McCoy.
This will be a game where the Bucs will look to get Mike Evans going. Evans has 10 catches for 108 and four touchdowns on the season. Last year that was one game of stats for Mike Evans.
Evans doesn’t’ seem to mind as long as the Bucs are winning. When asked about his stats this week.he said “You know I don’t care about stats, the main thing I care about is winning.”
That says all you need to know about Mike Evans.
Rookie Tyler Johnson could also see more time this week with Godwin out and Scotty Miller, not 100 percent healthy.
This one will go in the win column for the Bucs. Brady is starting to get more comfortable in this offense, and the defense continues to get better every week.
Bucs win 31-13 to get their third win of the season.