The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t impressed many people through the first four weeks of the NFL season by starting 1-3. If you don’t believe me check out the week 4 NFL power rankings; the Bucs come in dead last at no. 32. That means there’s nowhere to go but up, right?
The Bucs may be ranked as the worst team in the league right now, but the good news is that their week 5 five opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, is only ranked a few spots ahead at no. 29. The Jags are also 1-3 this year with their only win coming in week 2, the same week the Bucs were victorious.
Fans have to be thinking that this is a great opportunity for the Bucs to get their first win at Raymond James Stadium since December 2013. However, even though the Jags aren’t great neither are the Bucs. Both teams are surely thinking this is the week that they’ll pick up their second win of 2015.
1. How has Blake Bortles improved since his rookie season and what about him should scare the Bucs on Sunday?
Blake Bortles has been playing at a much higher level than he did during his rookie season, just not on a consistent basis. He’s cut down on his turnovers by a significant margin and he’s making smarter decisions, but he still has too many drives that stall and end in either a field goal or a punt in a precarious spot. If the Bucs should focus on anything it’s containing Bortles in the pocket, as some of his best plays in the redzone have been on scrambles.
2. What are your thoughts on RB TJ Yeldon? Will he be able to run the ball effectively against the Bucs defense?
Yeldon has been steady and effective for the most part this season. He finally had a breakout 100 yard game last week in the loss to the Colts, but the running game has sputtered through mostly 1- or 2-yard gains with the occasional 10+ yarder. The Bucs have the 3rd worst rushing defense in the NFL by yardage, so I expect the Jaguars to give Yeldon the ball early and often with moderate success.
3. What will the Jaguars defense do to confuse Jameis Winston and force him into turning the ball over?
The Jaguars generally don’t run complex schemes, so I really don’t think Jameis is going to have too difficult a time as far as coverages. Instead, I expect the Jaguars to send multiple rushers and try to force Jameis into bad decisions with a pass rush. It’s a bit of a risk as the Jaguars have had a hard time getting to the quarterback, but I don’t think they can let Jameis sit in the pocket and read the field.
4. What is one Jaguars player that Bucs fans may not have heard of that could have a big impact Sunday?
One of the bright spots on the Jacksonville defense has been Dan Skuta, a free agent pickup from San Francisco who primarily rushes at linebacker in certain packages. He’s one of the more productive sub-package rushers on the team and always appears to be close to a big play when he’s on the field. I would expect the Jaguars to send him on several blitzes throughout the game and try to match him up with the Bucs’ young offensive linemen.
5. What is your prediction for the game?
For the Jacksonville fanbase, this is basically a must win game. The Jaguars should be a better team at this point (second year QB in year 3 of a rebuild) but I honestly have no faith in this team to get the ball in the endzone right now. I think Jameis is going to have a couple of “wow” games in his rookie season and this might be one of them. I’ll give this one to the home team.
Bucs 24, Jaguars 16