Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- These teams are in the thick of tight divisional races and are coming off big Week 10 victories that ended their respective losing streaks.
- Tampa Bay’s defense has been one of the league’s bigger “pass funnel” units this season.
- The 49ers offense is primarily built around their running game but is perhaps the most efficient passing offense in the league.
- Matchups and situational tendencies will likely lead to elevated play volume for this game relative to what the “first layer” of stats would indicate.
- The 49ers have a quick turnaround for a Thanksgiving night showdown with the Seahawks, which will have huge divisional and playoff implications.
- Both defenses rank top-5 in opponent pass rate, pointing to a potentially explosive game environment.
How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::
The Bucs lost four straight games before last week’s dominant victory over the Titans, and their season appeared to be slowly slipping away. However, closer inspection shows that the most recent three losses in that span were all by single digits and were by a combined 11 points. Tampa Bay quickly went from a team whose record appeared to be fluky at 3-1 coming out of their Week 5 bye to a team that has been more formidable than their current 4-5 record would indicate. The Bucs likely were robbed by a missed pass interference call on a Hail Mary against the Bills that could have led to an upset victory on Thursday night football in Week 8 and were stunned by late-game heroics and a historic performance from CJ Stroud in Week 9. As they say, it’s a game of inches, and the Bucs are extremely close to being a 6-3 team right now (coincidentally, the same record as the 49ers currently boast). Despite those narrow losses, the Bucs are only a half-game behind the Saints in the NFC South, and with the Saints on bye, they could take the division lead with an upset win this week.
Baker Mayfield’s return to relevance continued with another solid performance in Week 10 against the Titans. Mayfield has had his rough moments this season, but for a player that so many had written off after last season (and the one prior), Mayfield has shown toughness and competitiveness for the Bucs and has been very good at getting the ball to the right players at the right times this season. The Bucs will need him this week, as their running game is one of the worst in the league, and they face a tough 49ers defense that may not have the greatest run defense “metrics” right now but is far from a pushover. The Bucs rank 32nd in the NFL in yards per carry, 31st in rushing offense DVOA, and 25th in PFF run-blocking grade. They are almost certain to have very little success running the ball this week, and with the 49ers offense appearing to be clicking again, they should enter this game knowing they will need to score points early and often to have a chance. The Bucs defense has been extremely opponent-sensitive this season, having strong showings against weaker offenses like the Titans, Falcons, and Saints while struggling against the more explosive teams on their schedule like the Eagles, Bills, and Texans. This 49ers offense is among the best in the league, and Tampa Bay will need to approach this game aggressively offensively to have a chance.