Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins: Battle for the sunshine state

The Buccaneers are coming off a very close win against New England. I was tense up until the missed 56-yard field goal. It was great to see the running attack emerge out of that game.

Fournette rushed for 92 yards and Ronald Jones scored the first rushing touchdown of the season! Tom Brady added a clutch run to extend the drive and was brilliant in getting the ball to the right receivers against that “changing” defensive scheme. The Bucs are leading the NFC South going into the game versus Miami. Tom Brady is also now the fourth quarterback in league history to beat every team.

I have never seen NFL teams practically abandon the running game against one team (the Bucs) as I have seen through these first four games. That is a huge accomplishment by the Bucs defense!

Teams are not trying to establish a run game because the defense is so effective at shutting the opposing team’s run game down.  “Slip screen, short pass, bubble screen” call it what you want, but teams are passing the ball to mimic a rushing attack against this number one run defense. The passing defense continues to not quite match up to the effectiveness of the run defense. Injuries are playing a big role. The addition of accomplished defensive back Richard Sherman should help. If the Bucs can get healthy, the defense should perform like a top-five unit. The stats may not reflect it later in the season, but a healthy Bucs defense will be a top group.

The streak of 30-point games for the Buccaneer offense ended against New England last Sunday. Congratulations to the players and the fans. It will be some time before a streak like that occurs in the NFL again. Hopefully, the Bucs will be the team to make it ten or more consecutive victories with 30 or more points scored.

Miami is a team with their backs against the wall. That is a tough opponent for any team to compete against. I expect the Dolphins defense to throw a bunch of coverages at the Bucs offense. Similar to the strategy New England used last week, but with Coach Flores’s schemes. If I had to give a prediction I would say the Bucs should win, but it will be close. These past four games have mostly been close and until the secondary can get healthy, the next few games will be close. Winning close games are what championship teams do! Enjoy the game and go Bucs!