Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1)
Sunday, November 27, 4:05 P.M. ET
Raymond James Stadium (65,618)
Network Television: FOX
Play-By-Play: Kenny Albert Analysts: Daryl Johnson Sideline: Laura Okmin
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, Flagship Station (103.5 FM, 620 AM & 95.3 FM)
Play-By-Play: Gene Deckerhoff Analyst: Dave Moore Sideline: T.J. Rives
Last Game: Tampa Bay Won at Kansas City, 19-17; Seattle Won vs. Philadelphia, 26-15
After going into Kansas City and leaving with an impressive win, the Bucs come back to Raymond James Stadium on a two-game win streak and ready to take on one the NFL’s hottest teams, the Seahawks.
Seattle has ripped off three straight, including wins over the Patriots and Eagles that have positioned the 2013 Super Bowl Champions into home-field contention. Russell Wilson, credited in part for inspiring Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston’s body transformation, is playing like an MVP candidate, throwing for over 600 yards and four touchdowns the past two weeks. He’ll have to lead the offense without running back C.J. Prosise (shoulder), though.
The Seahawks defense may have the NFL’s best collection of 11 players – on either side of the ball – but injuries have taken a toll. The “Legion of Boom” will be without All-Pro safety Earl Thomas (hamstring) while the defensive line, a unit that has led the way for a league-most 31 sacks, will miss former Buc Michael Bennett (knee). Both losses provide an opportunity for red-hot Winston and Mike Evans to capitalize on this Sunday.
Speaking of the passing game, the matchup between Evans and Richard Sherman should be one to watch. Same with Doug Martin and the Bucs offensive line against the NFL’s 11th ranked run-defense, one allowing less than 100 yards a game.
Last week was arguably the Bucs biggest win since 2012. A win this Sunday would top that. Proven and still in their prime, the Seahawks are undoubtedly among the NFL’s elite, if not the best team overall. The young and over-achieving Bucs, looking to become what the Seahawks have been, makes Sunday in Ray Jay one of the marquee games of the week. Read how the Pewter Reporters see it playing out.
PewterReport.com Publisher & Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
I want to pick the Bucs. I really do. They have proven they can win at home with a convincing, 36-10 win over a lousy Chicago Bears team. And that’s what you do against bad teams – you beat them soundly, as Tampa Bay did. The Bucs are also coming off a hard-fought 19-17 road win at Kansas City against the playoff-caliber Chiefs. Arrowhead is a tough place to steal a win and the Bucs notched their second win over a very good team in K.C. after beating the Falcons in Atlanta in Week 1.
Having said that, the recipe for the Bucs’ success has been getting takeaways as they have gotten six in the past two weeks. The problem with the visiting Seattle Seahawks is that they don’t the ball over. If my stats are correct, the Seahawks have just six turnovers for the entire season. They just don’t beat themselves, and if the Bucs can’t create takeaways – and get points from those takeaways – I just don’t know if Tampa Bay has the experience or the talent at this stage to pull off an upset for a second straight week.
What I do know is that the Bucs cannot allow the Seahawks to get a cheap touchdown on defense or on special teams where Tyler Lockett is a dangerous return specialist. It will be hard for Tampa Bay’s offense to match Seattle’s offense point-for-point. The Seahawks have scored at least 26 points in six of their last eight games, and they are 6-2 over that span. I don’t know if the Bucs can contain run-pass threat Russell Wilson, but without rookie running back C.J. Prosise, who is injured, the Seahawks’ running game is reeling and Seattle might be more one-dimensional than usual. I don’t like the match-up of tight end Jimmy Graham against the Bucs linebackers and safeties, and I think that will prove to be the difference in a close game.
Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Seahawks win 26-20
Reynolds’ Pick-to-click: RB Doug Martin
PewterReport.com Editor and Chief & Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
First let me say, the Buccaneers absolutely can win this football game. Especially if a few bounces go their way.
The Bucs are trying to establish themselves as a legitimate playoff team, and a win on Sunday would create a pretty strong announcement to the rest of the league of just that. This Seahawks team isn’t just a good team, they are one of the best, and after beating the Patriots on the road on Sunday night Football a couple weeks ago, they may actually be THE best.
In order for the Bucs to win they will need to play as clean of a football game as they have all year. Limited penalties, no turnovers and solid fundamental blocking and tackling. It helps that Settle is hurting with some key injuries, but they still have Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, and others that can create problems for Tampa Bay.
If Doug Martin can get on track, and the Bucs can control the clock and keep their defense off the field, it limits the opportunities for Wilson to do damage.I just see the Bucs ends have trouble containing Wilson on the edge and I think he eventually breaks down the Bucs’s resolve, converting some late third downs with his scrambling and throwing on the run.
I expect the game to be close, but as much as I would love to be able to pick Tampa Bay, I am going with Seattle pulling away in the fourth quarter. But if they Bucs somehow pull this one out, then there isn’t a game the rest of the season I don’t think they can’t win.
Cook’s Score Prediction: Seahawks win 23-21
Cook’s Pick–to–click: DT Gerald McCoy
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Eric Horchy
When the public got its first look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2016 schedule in April, this one didn’t get too many ‘Ws’ scratched next to it.
After flopping to a 1-3 start, even the most optimistic of fans probably reassessed their late-November upset prediction. But that was then and this is now.
Head coach Dirk Koetter and the Bucs have had their depth tested on both sides of the ball and managed to persevere, salvaging the 2016 season in the process. Tampa Bay picked up the home victory it desperately needed two weeks ago, then got the signature win that helps add legitimacy to an attempted postseason run.
The Bucs are getting a little healthier as Seattle suffers through significant injury issues, but Pete Carroll’s Seahawks still enough firepower to play with anyone in the league – not to mention a young, up-and-comer like Tampa Bay.
This is the most banged-up Seattle’s been all season, though, and the Bucs need to take advantage as best they can. The Seahawks are down to third-stringer Thomas Rawls at running back. Former Buccaneer Michael Bennett has been ruled out again, leaving the defense thinner along the line. Four-time All-Pro safety Earl Thomas is listed as doubtful, meaning the lethal secondary is likely without one of its top components. Adding to potential issues in the defensive backfield, three-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman may be dealing with a tender ankle and fellow corner DeShawn Shead is questionable because of a hamstring issue.
That being said, quarterback Russell Wilson, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, tight end Jimmy Graham, linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, safety Kam Chancellor, defensive end Cliff Avril, and a whole host of Seahawks that have combined to produce a 7-2-1 record will be on the field at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay managed to keep Kansas City under 100 yards rushing last Sunday for the first time since Week 4 against Denver. Forcing an offense to be one-dimensional is any defense’s goal, but taking away Seattle’s running game still forces them to deal with Wilson. Tampa Bay manages to keep Wilson and the Seahawks offense in check, though, and engages in a second straight low-scoring affair.
This might not seem like an ideal day for Doug Martin to finally get his first big game of the season, but fifth time’s a charm. Over the first five games of the season, Seattle held opponents’ rushing attacks to 74.6 yards per game. In the five games since, that stat’s ballooned to 122.2 yards per game. Running behind a healthy, full-strength offensive line, Martin is able to get going just enough to keep the heat of Seattle’s pass rush off quarterback Jameis Winston.
Horchy’s Score Prediction: Bucs win 22-20
Horchy’s Pick-to-click: RB Doug Martin
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Zach Shapiro
After a convincing win over Chicago and an upset in Kansas City, the Bucs are playing some of their best ball in November – exactly how you draw it up.
Jameis Winston has been moving the chains at will, while future Pro Bowler Mike Evans and undrafted rookie Alan Cross and everyone in between has been making plays to assist their quarterback. Doug Martin also appears to be returning to form, evidenced by his ability to make guys miss and turn negative runs into positive yards last Sunday. He’ll get guard Kevin Pamphile back this week, too.
The biggest improvement for the Bucs, though, has been on defense. With momentum-shifting takeaways and strong play inside the red zone, the unit has shown rapid growth since giving up over 1,100 yards combined in two games. The defensive line, at its healthiest since Week 1, and the secondary seem to be coming along in Mike Smith’s scheme.
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, I think the Seahawks are too much to handle. Earl Thomas is out, but their other All-Pro safety, Kam Chancellor, is still there to cover Cameron Brate and assist against the run. And while I think Mike Evans could have a solid game against Richard Sherman, the Bucs may not have enough firepower to get the run going against a dominant front seven. Defensively, I think Russell Wilson will be able to find Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham and move in and out of the pocket as needed.
The Bucs keep it close through three quarters, but the Super Bowl contenders put it away late.
Shapiro’s Score Prediction: Seahawks win 31-20
Shapiro’s Pick-to-click: WR Adam Humphries