Buccaneers game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions. Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.
WHEN: Sunday, October 25, 2020 KICKOFF: 4:05 p.m. (changed from 8:20 p.m.) TV: FOX (changed from NBC) RADIO: 98ROCK 97.9 FM PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff ANALYST: Dave Moore SIDLINE: T.J. Rives SPANISH RADIO: 96.1 Caliente PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez ANALYST: Martin Gramatica
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Scott Reynolds: Buccaneers Are Hitting Their Stride
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If the Buccaneers can leave Las Vegas victorious with a 5-2 record – as I believe they will – we may look back and say that the team’s loss in Chicago on Thursday Night Football was a watershed moment for this team. The Bucs beat themselves against the Bears, but then played nearly flawless football for the final three quarters against the Packers last week, scoring 38 unanswered points in a 38-10 drubbing of Aaron Rodgers and previously unbeaten Green Bay. That performance showed the team how dominant it can be in all three phases of the game if it can get out of its own way.
Las Vegas has a formidable offense, but a porous defense that doesn’t tackle well, is susceptible to big plays and can’t stop the run. What may hurt the offense this week is the offensive line, which saw tackle Trent Brown test positive for COVID-19 and that resulted in the entire starting offensive line being quarantined in Las Vegas this week and missing practice. Look for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to throw a myriad of blitzes at what could be a very unprepared Raiders offensive line whenever this game ends up being played.
I think the Bucs take control of this game from the start and win by a healthy margin as Tampa Bay’s pass rush gets to quarterback Derek Carr and forces a few turnovers. I also believe that running back Ronald Jones II continues his ascension and delivers with a fourth-straight 100-yard game. For more Bucs at Raiders preview information, be sure to read my Rewind Week 6 – Fast Forward Week 7 section of SR’s Fab 5, as well as my 4 Match-ups To Watch section.
Mark Cook: Easy Win For Bucs – If Game Even Happens
Fingers crossed this game even happens. So far so good, but the NFL won’t take any chances and the Bucs should be happy about that. The last thing they need is to travel to Las Vegas and end up getting someone infected and a rash of positive tests derails their momentum.
With the expectation that this game is played, the Bucs have an advantage nearly all over the field. First, offensively the Bucs should be able to move the ball at will against a mediocre Raiders’ defense that is young in the secondary and just not very good along the front seven. Defensively, if the Raiders are missing more than left tackle Trent Brown, then look out Derek Carr. Pass rusher Shaq Barrett is due for one of his multi-sack games, and it comes on Sunday.
The best plan for the Raiders – if they hope to beat the Bucs – is to sell out, bring pressure from all over the field and try to overwhelm the Bucs offensive line. They need a Chicago Bears-like performance from their pass rush and also one from the Bucs offensive line. Mike Evans will explode for 150 yards and two scores, Ronald Jones will get another 100-yard game and Tampa Bay will cruise fairly easy against a possibly undermanned Raiders team on Sunday.
Jon Ledyard: Bucs Start Slow, Finish Fast To Overcome Raiders
Six weeks into the season, I believe I understand whether about 90 percent of the NFL is good, bad or in-between this season. The Raiders fall in that ten percent, as they have victories over the Saints and Chiefs in VERY different fashions, but were trounced by a struggling Patriots team and have allowed 30 points in four of five games this season.
The Bucs will be by far the best defense the Raiders face this season, and in the end I think that will be the difference. Tampa Bay has been hot-and-cold offensively, but the Raiders defense is weak enough that this could be a weak it all comes together. A poor coverage team without a great pass rush is a pretty bad combination against Tom Brady and a stable of Bucs receivers that are getting healthy at the right time.
Breakout games are coming for Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The Bucs defense might not produce turnovers like they have most of the season, but a late strip-sack by Shaq Barrett will seal it.
Matt Matera: Bucs Keep It Rolling With Another Lopsided Victory
The Bucs should be coming into this game quite confident after dominating the Packers, 38-10, last Sunday, but they can’t let one performance make them think they can walk all over the Raiders. It’d be easier to believe that as well with Vegas’ starting offensive linemen missing all week to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19 after tackle Trent Brown’s positive test. Tampa Bay is at an advantage and should not relent from overpowering the Raiders and exploiting their match-ups
If it wasn’t already good enough that the Bucs’ unique schemes were able to confuse Aaron Rodgers and sack him four times, they now get to feast on a Raiders’ offensive line that could be without their starters. Las Vegas has allowed eight sacks in five games, but they’re a deep ball offense, and that will give Tampa Bay time to get to Derek Carr. Like a shark that smells blood in the water, the Bucs will overwhelm an undermanned line to get to Carr, while also negating the down field threat of rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III.
Look for Tampa Bay’s offense to have an impactful game from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on Sunday. Neither player is at full health, but a Raiders defense that has allowed 30.4 points per game and 393.6 yards per game might just be the remedy to get them going. Defense has been the strength for the Bucs and a weakness for the Raiders so far this season. The Bucs have shown that they can come back from games even after going down by two scores, and if they’re the ones up by that same amount their defense won’t let the Raiders back in the game.
Taylor Jenkins: Bucs Offense Matches Up Well vs. Raiders Defense
While the Chiefs are coming off of a bye week and a big upset of the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, is there a team that could possibly be entering the week with more momentum than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after thrashing the undefeated Green Bay Packers by a score of 38-10 last weekm and holding Aaron Rodgers scoreless in the final three quarters, while forcing back-to-back interceptions?
The Bucs finally looked like the team that we all thought they would coming into the season, and that was a mix of limiting penalties that have plagued Tampa Bay, a healthy and talented offense that finally stopped tripping over its own feet, and an aggressive and nearly perfect defense – after the Packers’ first two drives of course. The Raiders can move the ball, ranking sixth in total offense with over 399 yards per game, and sixth in scoring offense with 30.2 points per game, but there is also a possibility that their offensive line may not clear COVID protocols prior to the game. Defensively, on the other hand, Las Vegas is allowing 393.6 yards and 30.4 points per game to its opponents.
The Raiders are absolutely not a team the Bucs can look past as they enter Week 7 with wins over the Saints and Chiefs this season, but if Tampa Bay can roll out even a fraction of the play we saw last week then it should be able to cruise to 5-2 and hold its NFC South lead against their former head coach in Jon Gruden.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org