Buccaneers vs. 49ers: what to watch for in week one matchup

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 02: Ryan Jensen #66 hikes the ball to Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on December 02, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 02: Ryan Jensen #66 hikes the ball to Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on December 02, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 23: The San Francisco 49ers line up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 23: The San Francisco 49ers line up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

49ers’ star-studded front four vs. the Buccaneers’ offensive line

Maybe the biggest reason for concern in today’s matchup against the 49ers is set to take place in the trenches. The 49ers have one of, if not the best front fours along their defensive line in the entire National Football League, while the Buccaneers’ offensive line is subpar at best.

The Niners used their second overall pick in the draft on Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa. They add Bosa to a defensive front already consisting of Pro Bowler Dee Ford, All-Pro DeForest Buckner, and former first rounders in Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas. You counted correctly, there are five defensive lineman with high potential for the 49ers.

Meanwhile the Buccaneers have the fourth most expensive offensive line in the entire league, yet there was not a running lane to be found a year ago. Adding insult to injury, the Buccaneers chose not to use a high draft pick on the offensive line, and they only signed one journeyman veteran in Earl Watford this offseason in free agency.

Outside of Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson on occasion, the Buccaneers will have to navigate the woes that will come from first year starter Alex Cappa, and the $23 million total salary between left tackle Donovan Smith and Ryan Jensen. How well this Buccaneers’ front plays against the high-powered 49ers’ defensive line will dictate the direction of this football game.