The Buccaneers will head North this week to take on an Indianapolis Colts team that is on the rise. The Bucs are 7-3 and coming off their most impressive win this season against the New York Giants on Monday Night 30-10.
At the beginning of the season, the Colts were predicted by many to contend for the NFC South crown. Up until a few weeks ago, it looked as if that would not happen this year.
But on any given Sunday in the NFL, things can change quickly, which happened last week with the Titans losing to the Houston Texans, one of the worst teams in the league.
Meanwhile, the Colts were on the road beating a Super Bowl Caliber team, the Buffalo Bills, 41-15 to go to 6-5 on the season. Running back, Jonathan Taylor torched the Bills for 185 yards and four touchdowns.
Taylor will be a significant factor in whether the Bucs can win this game or not. Taylor is the best running back in the NFL now that Derrick Henry is out for the season with a broken foot. Taylor has rushed for 1122 yards and is averaging 5.8 yards a carry.
The Bucs bring the number one run defense into this game, giving up just over 75 yards a game.
The Colt’s offense is averaging 33.5 points a game over the last six weeks of the season, So this will be a good test for the Bucs defense.
The Colts have one of the better offensive lines in the league. This offensive line has contributed to the overall success of the run game in Indianapolis.
The Bucs will be without wide receiver Antonio Brown for the fifth straight game. Scotty Miller has been activated off IR and will be ready to go against the Colts.
Wide receiver Mike Evans and linebacker Devin White were limited in practice this week due to minor injuries sustained in the Monday Night win against the Giants. Both are expected to play against the Colts.
Vita Vea is also listed as questionable on the injury report, while guard Ali Marpet is listed as doubtful. Mike Evans was a full participant at practice on Thursday and Friday.
The Bucs are just 2-3 on the road this season, and that will have to change if the Bucs want to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. You can’t be a .500 team on the road during the regular season and expect to be home for every playoff game.
The Bucs are three-point favorites on the road against the Colts, and that feels just about right. This is a game that will be won in the trenches. It will be the Bucs front seven versus the Colts Jonathan Taylor and the offensive line.
The Bucs will also need to keep the turnovers to a minimum,and eliminate the stupid penalties.The Bucs had only 39 yards in penalties against the Giants. An improvement from the 97 yards against Washington.
I think the Bucs will step up and meet that challenge. This is a statement game for the Bucs. A win and everyone breathes a little easier about the chances of another deep playoff run become more realistic.
A loss and the questions continue about this team and their chances of playing winning football in January.
This is a game that the need to win to quiet the critics and also show that they can beat a quality opponent. Of the Bucs seven wins this season, two have been what would qualify as a quality opponent. Dallas, and New England.
Final Score Buccaneers 24, Colts 21.