Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at Denver Broncos (9-3)
Last week’s loss against the Falcons was a heartbreaker, there’s really no other way to put it. But we’ve been talking about this shift in culture all year long in Tampa, and it’s games like the one today against Denver that will truly prove if this team is growing, or at the very least how fast it’s growing.
Good teams bounce back, they show fight in games even if they’ve lost the previous one. That’s what the Bucs need to do against the Broncos, they must show fight and a will to win and thusly bounce back from a gut wrenching loss.
It won’t be easy, as the Broncos are not as good as the Falcons but far better than most of the teams Tampa has played this year. Peyton Manning is the x-factor as he usually is and he usually owns the Bucs. From the miraculous comeback win on Monday Night Football almost a decade ago, to the other meetings since then, Manning has shown no fear when facing a Bucs defense.
And that’s back when there was a secondary present.
The key to winning is putting pressure on Manning. Denver’s run game is mysterious in that no one knows who’s running the ball. Willis McGahee is out, Knowshon Moreno is out and Denver is in a situation not unlike the one the Bucs found themselves in last year when they literally ran out of backs.
Besides, Tampa boasts the best run defense in the NFL allowing just over 81 yards per game on the ground, so the Broncos are virtually one-dimensional. But that one dimension has Peyton Manning which makes it a pretty damn good dimension. Juxtapose that against the Bucs 32nd ranked pass defense and you’re starting to see this is going to be a topsy turvy game.
But again, it’s one that the Bucs can very much win. It all comes down to the offense: can they score enough points so that the secondary can make it’s usual number of mistakes and still win the game?
If history has shown us anything, the Bucs will need at least 30 points to win, and against Manning that might not be enough.
Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Nat’l TV: N/A
Bucs TV: FOX
Away TV: FOX
Announcers: Dick Stockton/John Lynch
Live Stream: NFL Live Stream
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), KOA 850AM (Denver)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 829 (Bucs Feed), Sirius 809 (Broncos Feed)
Weather: 61°F, Sunny
Line: Broncos -7.0
Last Week: Buccaneers lost to Falcons 24-23, Broncos beat Chiefs 17-9
Last Meeting: October 5, 2008 – Buccaneers 13, Broncos 16
Series History (Since 2001): Broncos lead series 2-0
Key Bucs Storyline: Can the Bucs bounce back as a unit after a heartbreaking loss?
Opposing View: Will the Broncos clinch a playoff spot this week with a win?
Prediction: Bucs 24, Broncos 31