Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- Tom Brady keeps getting away with it, as the Bucs have been very bad this year but somehow still lead their division.
- The Cardinals offense will be led by Trace McSorley, a rushing quarterback with limited ability throwing the ball.
- The Bucs defense has been up and down this year, but has performed very well against sub-par quarterback play and offenses.
- The Cardinals defense has surrendered 24 or more points in seven of their last eight games.
How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::
The Bucs put on a clinic of “how to blow a lead in the NFL” last week, as they committed four turnovers and seven penalties to blow a two touchdown halftime lead and lose by double digits. Tom Brady continues to ride good fortune, as after nearly two decades dominating the AFC East, a division with no other serious contenders during that time, he has now moved on to the NFC South, just as all the teams in the division fall apart. At 6-8, the Bucs are still leading the division and in a prime position to make the playoffs. This week, the Bucs draw a Cardinals team that will be down to their third-string quarterback and has been eliminated from the playoffs, while the Bucs finish with divisional games against the 5-9 Panthers and Falcons.
The Bucs continue to pass the ball at a high rate, mainly due to the ineffectiveness of their running game. Most of those passes are of the short area variety, with Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, and their running backs accumulating a healthy dose of targets. Mike Evans, and to a lesser extent when he is healthy, Julio Jones, are the main targets in the short to intermediate areas of the field, although that is an area that the Bucs seldom target and are inefficient in when they do. This week, the Bucs face a poor Cardinals run defense and a pass defense that for most of the year has kept teams from attacking them downfield, so we should expect a similar approach from the Bucs as they look to slowly work their way down the field. I would expect a slightly more run-centric approach from the Bucs early in this game than we are used to, as they are likely to be conservative and want to avoid costly mistakes that let the Cardinals off the hook by letting them play with a lead without having to move the ball very much. Another conservative, high volume approach for the Bucs is in order as they flood our primetime screens on Christmas Day.