Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Baltimore Ravens Preview and Predictions


Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Robert Herron (10) scores a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finally return home this Sunday after three straight road games, as they face the visiting Baltimore Ravens.

Tampa Bay is 1-4 on the year after narrowly being defeated by the New Orleans Saints in overtime last week, but there are signs of life from the Bucs. The biggest sign of life is that Mike Glennon has sparked the Buccaneers’ offense to the point that the passing game might actually be the strongest aspect of Tampa’s team. That’s something no one would have expected to say when Josh McCown was at the helm.

Baltimore is 3-2 in 2014, and finding their offensive stride with playmakers like Justin Forsett, and a foe that the Bucs have plenty of history with, Steve Smith Sr.

Still, it is there defense that stirs the pot in their games, and that will be no different this Sunday. The Ravens will look to keep Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey in a slump and force Glennon to make a few mistakes. Coincidentally, that is the same strategy the Buccaneers’ defense should deploy. Forsett has really emerged in the absence of Ray Rice, and the Ravens need that running game to ensure that Joe Flacco will have some passing lanes in the secondary.

Once again, a big key for this Buccaneers team is their pass rush, which needs to be more consistent. We saw plenty of it against Ben Roethlisberger, and a little more last week against Drew Brees. While it wasn’t enough to pick up the victory in New Orleans, it forced Brees into some uncharacteristic mistakes.

Mistakes are what the Bucs offense would like to avoid this week. Last Sunday, Tampa Bay had multiple drops by wide receivers that would have been converted into first downs. The team, as a whole, also committed 15 penalties. That’s not going to win you any football games, and it is probably the main reason the Bucs lost last Sunday.

Hopefully, those mistakes can be minimized, as Rotoworld.com says rookie wide receiver looks “good to go” against Baltimore. Evans, in his small sample size of play, has been extremely efficient and explosive when the ball is thrown towards him. If he’s recovered from his groin injury, adding him with Vincent Jackson and the surprise of the year, Louis Murphy, the passing game should look good against Baltimore’s ailing secondary.

One member of the Buccaneers that needs to have a better game than last week is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. ASJ had a couple of big drops and boneheaded plays that would have gotten some players benched. He’ll need to be better to provide a threat over the middle of the field when the Ravens try to get aggressive and blitz. If their linebackers fully commit to the rush and ASJ is running routes to the middle of the field, look for the decisive Mike Glennon to get the ball out to his young tight end.


The Buccaneers are returning home for the first time in a month, and this is the first game in which fans will see Mike Glennon sling the ball around at Ray Jay in 2014. Despite the team’s 1-4 record, I expect a raucous crowd that has seen some great things from the Bucs these past couple of weeks. If Tampa Bay wants to take advantage of that, they’ll have to start quickly like they did against the Steelers. But if the penalty flags start flying, expect more moans and groans from the Tampa crowd, as they’ll start to become restless.

The Ravens are a team that oozes confidences, as they have fiery leaders on both sides of the ball. Tampa Bay will have to force them into making mistakes often in this game to take away their swagger. The Bucs must win the turnover battle. They got a taste of what it is like to gain a lead on a team last wee, but they couldn’t sustain it and put the Saints away. The only way they are going to put a team away is if they take the ball away and eat clock. Doug Martin has to put together a solid performance, because Glennon can’t do it all.

Until I see the Bucs put together a solid week in the rushing game, then I can’t predict them to win. However, I think we’re going to see another close game, and another impressive outing from Mike Glennon.

Final Score: Baltimore Ravens 30, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27.