Continuing our season preview, what will it take for the Buccaneers to beat the Chargers on the road?
The Buccaneers are preparing for the 2016 season, so let’s continue previewing it. We have covered the first twelve weeks of the season so far, which brings us to week 13. In week 13, the Bucs head to San Diego to take on Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and the rest of the Chargers. Don’t be fooled by the Chargers 4-12 2015 record. Beating them will not be easy.
So how do the Bucs go about it?
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Let’s look at the history between these two teams. Previously, these two teams have met ten times with the Chargers winning eight of them. Tampa did win the last matchup, back in 2012 at “RayJay” by the score of 34-24.
This one is going to put a strain on the new Bucs’ secondary. Remember when I said don’t let the record fool you? Well, the Chargers were fourth in the league in passing offense last season. They threw for nearly 287 yards per game and completed over 66% of their passes. In two previous matchups with the Bucs, Rivers has averaged 312 yards per game, completed 73% of his passes, and threw seven touchdowns versus two interceptions. I don’t care how old he is, he is dangerous.
Antonio Gates has only posted nine catches over three games against the Bucs, but don’t go to sleep on the guy. He came back from suspension last season and posted two touchdowns in his first game. The linebackers had better be ready to stay with this guy. The same can be said for Danny Woodhead. He has become a player that just picks up yards when nobody is paying attention. He can catch passes and carry the rock. He must be part of the game plan.
The Bucs should be able to move the ball on this team. Last year, the Chargers were ranked 14th against the pass, allowed a 64% completion percentage and a 93.8 passer rating. The one time Doug Martin faced the Chargers, he posted 68 yards on 19 carries. Last year, San Diego ranked 27th against the run, allowing 125.3 yards per game. They did add Joey Bosa, but he hasn’t figured out how to come to camp yet.
By the time this game comes around he likely will have signed, but the Chargers still have holes on defense. Koetter and company have a real chance to move the ball here.
We have a winnable road game here, folks. But Tampa Bay can’t sleep walk through this one either.