A big part of the Buccaneers’ three game win streak has been the play of the defense. They are gelling as a unit – and becoming dangerous.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are as hot as any team in football right now. Although Jameis Winston and Mike Evans have been playing sensational football, the defense deserves a large part of the credit for the way the Bucs have put things together.
Since week five, the Buccaneers are 5-2, with wins over division rival Carolina, a Kansas City Chiefs team – in Arrowhead – that was in first place in the AFC West, and a first place Seattle Seahawks team. During that seven game span, the Buccaneers defense is allowing 19.4 points per game – which includes a 30 point performance by the Raiders in overtime and a 43 point outburst by rival Atlanta. More importantly, the Bucs have gotten 18 turnovers in that span, which is good for the most in the NFL.
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The San Diego Chargers are up next, and despite their 5-6 record, they’re a solid football team. Philip Rivers has thrown for over 3,000 yards this season, as well as 23 touchdowns to only twelve interceptions. Their defense is allowing 26.5 points per game, yet have lost their six games by a combined 29 points, four of which were by six points or less.
This Chargers team is certainly better than their record and can give the Bucs a difficult time on Sunday. With weapons like Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry at tight end, the Chargers have a favorable matchup. The Buccaneers have allowed 687 yards on 51 receptions and three touchdowns to tight ends on the season, which has to be cleaned up before they take on a dynamic tight end duo like Gates and Henry.
If the Bucs can generate the kind of pressure that allowed them to sack the quarterback ten times over the last three games. Noah Spence continues to emerge as a dominant force in his rookie season – and that’s with a torn labrum – while the rest of the defensive line is getting exponentially better week by week.
This is certainly another winnable game for the Buccaneers, but as we’ve said for the last three weeks, it starts with the defense. So far, in those last three weeks, they’ve answered the call. Time to keep it up.