For this weekend’s Pewter Report Roundtable, the crew tackles one other powerful query. This week’s immediate: Who’s the “entice recreation” on this yr’s Bucs schedule?
Scott Reynolds: Scary Steelers Protection Makes Journey To Pittsburgh A Potential Entice
Regardless of how good the Bucs are with Tom Brady there was at the very least one recreation the place this ultra-talented Tampa Bay workforce has stubbed its toe. In 2020, it was dropping to a Bears workforce, 20-19, in Chicago on Thursday Evening Soccer. The Bears had been 3-1 getting into that recreation, however had overwhelmed up on the likes of Detroit, the New York Giants and Atlanta previous to taking part in Tampa Bay. The Bucs actually beat themselves that recreation with turnovers and wasted alternatives within the crimson zone. Chicago would find yourself with an 8-8 file. Final yr, it was dropping at Washington, 29-19, to a workforce that may end 7-10. The Bucs additionally wanted a last-second landing to beat the lowly Jets in New York, 28-24.
So which opponent might be the Bucs’ entice recreation this yr? Contemplating that these unlikely losses or near-defeats have occurred on the highway, I’m inclined to say the Steelers. The Bucs might be coming off of a three-game residence stand and what must be a winnable recreation versus the Falcons. Then they play the Steelers earlier than a winnable highway journey to Carolina. Pittsburgh can have a brand new quarterback changing the legendary Ben Roethlisberger, who retired this offseason. Whether or not it’s journeyman Mitchell Trubisky or first-round decide Kenny Pickett underneath heart, the Steelers might nonetheless be formidable due to their protection.
The widespread denominator within the losses at Chicago and at Washington – and practically at New York – was that the Tampa Bay offense was held in test by a stout protection. The Bucs scored solely 19 factors towards the Bears and the workforce now referred to as the Commanders. Tampa Bay solely had 21 factors on the board at New York till the ultimate seconds when Tom Brady hit Cyril Grayson, Jr. with the game-winning TD. And who had been the quarterbacks in these video games? They had been Nick Foles in Chicago, Tyler Heinicke in Washington and rookie Zach Wilson in New York. The Bucs might be favored in practically each recreation, together with the competition on the Steelers. However T.J. Watt, Cameron Hayward, Minkah Fitzpatrick and the Blitzburgh protection makes October 16 a possible entice recreation for Tampa Bay.
Matt Matera: Ravens Could Get Neglected With Rams In City The Subsequent Week
It might be the 2020 model of the Ravens that was the No. 1 seed within the AFC, or the 2021 workforce that missed the playoffs at 8-9. Baltimore continues to be a risk. I say that as a result of the next week the Bucs host the Rams, and that’s a recreation they have already got their circled on the schedule. The Rams have overwhelmed the Bucs thrice in two seasons, so with revenge on the thoughts towards them, Tampa Bay may neglect about how powerful Baltimore might be. Add within the reality it’s a Thursday night time recreation and that throws one other wrench into the scenario.
After a grueling opening month to the season, the Bucs have a lightweight a part of the schedule in Weeks 4-6 with video games towards the Falcons, Steelers and Panthers. That must be three wins there, so the Bucs might need their minds comfy earlier than refueling that anger to lastly topple the Rams of their fourth try. The Ravens may not look as tough as they as soon as had been, particularly after buying and selling receiver Hollywood Brown. They’re skinny at receiver and even when they’ve an important operating recreation, we all know the Bucs can all the time cease that.
There must be an enchancment for Baltimore’s protection after spending their first three picks on that aspect of the ball, however is it sufficient to cease Tampa Bay’s offense with Tom Brady? Most likely not. The one factor which will change the sport is Lamar Jackson’s efficiency. He can nonetheless run far and wide and use his athleticism to win video games. The Bucs can get to the quarterback, however are additionally susceptible to miss some sacks. With the Rams on the thoughts for the next week, I can see the Bucs probably dropping focus towards the Ravens within the week earlier than.
J.C. Allen: Sandwiched Between Two Powerful AFC Groups, Panthers May Steal A Win
The Bucs can have run the gauntlet the primary 4 weeks of the season going up towards among the hardest opponents on their schedule. They’ll have a recreation towards a rebuilding Atlanta Falcons workforce earlier than touring north to face the Steelers. The Falcons seem as one of many solely reprieves on Tampa Bay’s daunting schedule. Nevertheless the Steelers will nonetheless have a bodily protection, even when they don’t have the quarterback spot found out.
Which leads us into the second of the Bucs’ back-to-back highway video games – the Panthers. While you take a look at Carolina it doesn’t seem to current a lot of a problem. And the Panthers haven’t been for the Bucs the final two seasons. The truth is over these two seasons the Bucs have scored extra mixed factors towards Carolina than another workforce within the division. Nevertheless, sandwiched in between two bodily opponents, the Panthers might steal one.
On offense the Panthers are loaded on the ability positions, with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall. With a revamped offensive line, Carolina may be capable to get ample quarterback play from Sam Darnold. Defensively, Brian Burns leads the way in which in a younger gifted group. Derrick Brown offers a steady drive up entrance. Carolina’s trio of linebackers completed with over 300 tackles in 2021 and their secondary is younger, gifted, and versatile. The Bucs will nonetheless be the odds-on favorites to win the matchup. However after a tough stretch to begin the season, the Panthers might steal one if the Bucs aren’t targeted.
Josh Queipo: Atlanta In Week 5 May Present How Centered The Bucs Actually Are
Ever for the reason that 2022 schedule was first launched Bucs followers and pundits alike have been speaking concerning the first 4 video games. And for good cause. At Dallas and New Orleans, and residential video games versus Inexperienced Bay and Kansas Metropolis signify a veritable gauntlet to open a troublesome season. That’s the reason touring to Atlanta in Week 5 appears to me like such a land mine.
Give it some thought. Say the Bucs come out of the primary quarter of the season at 3-1. They know they’ve the powerful Pittsburgh protection in Week 6. However Atlanta? The Falcons are rebuilding. They don’t have a franchise quarterback. Atlanta must be simple, proper? Not so quick. In my view, the Falcons might be higher than lots of people assume. That they had a stellar draft that includes six gamers by my depend who might be starters by that Week 5 matchup.
A entice recreation by definition is a recreation the place a higher-ranked workforce performs a lesser workforce that everybody expects them to win. Atlanta matches that mould. However they’re additionally a division opponent. That makes them harmful as a result of they’ve a greater understanding of the Bucs’ tendencies. It’s additionally a highway recreation. Lastly, it marks a recreation that may characteristic an excellent chunk of gamers the Bucs gained’t have a lot movie on on the NFL stage. Look out for Week 5 towards Atlanta. It might be much more harmful of a matchup than you assume.
Bailey Adams: The Germany Journey Shouldn’t Be Problematic, However It Very Nicely May Be
There Bucs have only a few “gimme” video games in 2022. And the truth that there aren’t a lot of them makes those which might be on the schedule all of the extra necessary. A type of video games that might function a possible entice recreation is definitely Tampa Bay’s voyage to Germany. In that worldwide sequence matchup, Todd Bowles and Co. will play what appears like a extremely dangerous Seattle Seahawks workforce.
On paper, the Seahawks aren’t a workforce that the Bucs ought to even mildly wrestle with. After buying and selling Russell Wilson to Denver, Seattle has a quarterback room that options Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason. That shouldn’t scare anybody, particularly a protection two years faraway from profitable the Tremendous Bowl. But, with receivers like Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf and operating again Rashaad Penny, the Seahawks do have some weapons to deploy offensively. And whereas the protection actually isn’t what it as soon as was, safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs spotlight the rebuilding unit. By Week 10, Pete Carroll’s workforce might be on its strategy to figuring issues out.
All of that stated, the entice recreation potential of the Germany journey has much less to do with the opponent and extra to do with the timing. It comes simply earlier than the Bucs’ bye week, and it caps off a tough 10-week stretch of video games. There are the four-game begin everyone seems to be speaking about. However then instantly earlier than the Seahawks recreation, there are conferences with the Ravens and Rams, which come within the span of 11 days. Coming off of these video games and approaching the bye week, the Bucs might be banged up. They might be looking forward to the ultimate stretch of the yr, which incorporates video games towards Cleveland, New Orleans, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Arizona. In fact, there’s additionally the prospect that the lengthy trek to Germany turns into an element. All of that thought-about, Tampa Bay higher watch out and targeted because it heads into Bayern Munich’s Allianz Enviornment.