The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to survive the hoopla of one of the most anticipated games of the season against the New England Patriots. Now, the spotlight is a bit lessened as the Bucs return home to tangle with a desperate AFC East opponent and in-state rival, the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins will come into the game as losers of three straight games after slipping by the Patriots 17-16 in Week 1.
Miami lost their starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, to injured ribs in the Dolphins Week 2 shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills. Former Patriots and Colts signal caller Jacoby Brissett has taken over and has at least been competitive in the subsequent games, including an overtime road loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and a 10-point home defeat to his previous team in Week 3.
Tampa Bay can’t play down to the competition, regardless of their record. Miami is desperate to right the ship and save their season before it is too late. There would be no better way for them to start than by beating the Buccaneers this Sunday.
There is a lot of New England influence in South Florida and that starts at the top. Dolphins Head Coach, Brian Flores, is a longtime Bill Belichick disciple who spent 15 years with the Patriots before joining Miami in 2019. His final 8 years there was as an assistant defensive coach, learning the ins and outs of what made Tom Brady’s old team successful.
Needless to say, Flores will be honing on what worked for and against the Bucs to prepare for this game. They will be coming into Raymond James Stadium with nothing to lose, so the Bucs have to be ready for any and everything he might throw at them if they want to improve to 4-1.
The Bucs had a tough time with New England, and that fact can only help when the next opponent is a team molded in their previous opponent’s image. The Bucs must use what happened against the Patriots as both a blueprint and wakeup call to prevent a hungry and desperate Miami team with a lot of familiar traits from springing an upset.