Buccaneers Face Big Challenge Against The 49ers

After a thrilling come-from-behind win against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night, the Buccaneers head west to take on a red-hot San Francisco team that has won five in a row.

This will be a battle of division leaders, with the Bucs leading the NFC South and the 49ers leading the NFC West. This is also a pivotal game in the fight for playoff positioning in the NFC.

With Philadelphia and Minnesota locked on the number one and two playoff spots in the NFC, the battle for the third is still up for grabs.

Currently, the Bucs have the number four spot in the NFC playoff picture. A Tampa Bay win on Sunday, and the Bucs will close to within one game of the 49ers. However, a Buccaneers loss and the Bucs are probably looking at the number four spot.

So this is a big game for the Buccaneers and their postseason plans.

The Buccaneers will head to face the San Francisco 49ers, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Everyone is making this a battle of the quarterbacks, Tom Brady against Brock Purdy. But the reality is, this is much more about Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense against the 49ers’ defense than a matchup between the two quarterbacks.

With The 49ers’ defense leading the NFL, giving up just over 15 points a game, and the Buccaneers averaging 17 points a game, I’m wondering how many points the Bucs’ offense is going to be able to score against the number one defense.

The good news is despite the Buccaneer’s ineptness on offense; they are 3-1 over the last four games to get their record to 6-6.

Those wins have come against the 4-9 Saints, the 4-9 Rams, and the 7-5 Seahawks. The only loss was in Cleveland, a 23-17 defeat against a 5-7 Browns team.

The 49ers, after a 3-4 start, have won five in a row, after starting the season 3-4. The 49ers were ravaged by injuries earlier this season and have gotten a lot of players back healthy the last few weeks.

Last week in the 33-17 win against Miami, quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo broke his foot in the first quarter and was replaced by Brock Purdy. Purdy played well, completing 25/37 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Another critical piece for the 49ers’ offense has been all-purpose running back Christian McCaffrey, who was acquired from Carolina at the trade deadline. McCaffrey has rushed for 307 yards and is averaging over four yards per carry with two touchdowns since his arrival on the west coast.

He also has 33 catches for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bucs’ defense struggled to slow him down when they saw him twice a year with Carolina.

The Bucs are giving up 118 yards a game on the ground and could be in for a long afternoon on Sunday.

The offensive line will have their hands full trying to keep NFL sack leader Nick Bosa off of Tom Brady. As much maligned as the offensive line has been this season, and they have been awful at times, the Bucs Lead the league with more pass attempts than any team in the NFL. They also have the lowest percentage of sacks and holding penalties of any offensive line in the NFL.

For the Bucs to have a chance to win this game, it will start with the play of Donovan Smith and the offensive line. If Bosa has his way with Smith, it will be a long afternoon for Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense.

The defensive backs will also be challenged, as a vital piece of the 49ers’ offensive attack is accumulating yards after the catch.

With Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and now Christian McCaffreyLeading the 49ers offense, Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal will be asked to limit their production and yards after the catch.

With Brock Purdy playing in his second NFL game, it will be important for Devin White and the rest of the front seven to get good pressure on Purdy and disrupt his rhythm.

The Bucs will have to play an almost perfect game to get a win against the 49ers. Anything less, and the Bucs will limp back home under .500

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