With three games left in the season, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders.
What was once a 2-0 start and the Bucs were the surprise team of the NFL has given way to the real possibility of another losing season in Tampa.
Mathematically the Bucs are still alive for a wild card spot. Last time I checked the odds were a 1% chance that the Bucs would run the table and win their last three games, and then hope the stars align right to get them a wildcard berth.
It is a tall order as the Bucs will be playing one of the better defenses in the league tomorrow in the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bucs had a good start last week aginst New Orleans and had a 14-3 lead At halftime. Then in the second half the Bucs could get nothing going as Jameis Winston had just 81 yards passing and most of those were at garbage time.
The Bucs will be facing a much better defense in the Ravens than they saw last week against the Saints. The running game was non-existent and the OL had its worst game of the season and were man handled by the Saints Allowing 4 sacks and letting Winston get hit numerous times.
The Ol also committed a lot of foolish penalties as the Saints defense had them out of sync all day long. Ryan Jensen was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at a crucial point in the game and that caused some words between Winston and Jensen on the sideline.
The Ravens have the 3rd best pass defense in the league and the Bucs have the number number two pass offense in the league. This matchup will be interesting to watch. Will the Ravens DB‘s Brandon Carr, Eric Weddle, and Jimmy Smith be able to contain Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Cameron Brate?
The other factor in this game will the Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. We all knew that Jackson would play at some point this season, but in the last 4 weeks since Jackson has been under center the Ravens are averaging 200 yards per game rushing.
Jackson will and can beat you with his arm and his feet, so that will put more pressure on the Bucs defense. The Ravens also have Gus Edwards and Alex Collins to run the ball and they both have over 400 yards rushing on the season.
It will very important for the Bucs to stay in their lanes defensively and not let the scrambling of Jackson get them off their game because thats when he is at his best and will beat you.
DeSean Jackson is out for the Bucs. This will be the third straight game that he has missed. Justin Evans is also out for the game.
The challenge is huge for the Bucs. Jameis Winston says the Bucs are fighting hard for Dirk Koetter and the coaches to keep their jobs. This is a game that will be close. But the Bucs defense won’t be able to contain Lamar Jackson and he will have his way against this defense.
Ravens win 27-21