Tomorrow’s game is an big opportunity for the Bucs as they can get above 500 and get one step closer to first place in the division. Their opponent the Oakland Raiders are coming to Tampa with an record of 5-2 and have probably one of the better offenses in the league. With that being said, lets take a look at the critical matchups in this game that we feel the Bucs must win if they want to win the game at Ray Jay tomorrow.
1. Bucs D-Line vs Raiders O-line
The Bucs defensive line has a big task ahead of them tomorrow against the big Raiders offensive line whom have done a great job protecting Qb Derek Carr. Carr has been sacked only seven times and hit 15 times this season. The good news for the Bucs is that DE Robert Ayers is coming back giving the Bucs more depth up front. Look for the Bucs to move Ayers and Spence around a lot to give the Raiders different looks. Gerald McCoy has been a beast all season along with Will Gholston and that must continue tomorrow for the Bucs defense to be successful. Bucs D-line has to get pressure on Carr which should create opportunities for interceptions.
2. Mike Evans vs Raiders Secondary
Evans has been sensational this season and that must continue for the Bucs offense to be successful. Evans has a great opportunity to have a big game this week going against a secondary that has been giving up over 300 yards in the air per game. Evans will be going against Sean Smith and David Amerson whom both are bigger corners but at the same time lack speed which is something the Bucs must take advantage of. Expect the Bucs to move Evans around like they did against the 49ers and hopefully can create some big plays down the field.
3. Vernon Hargreaves vs Amari Cooper
This is the matchup everyone is talking about and it should be a great one to watch. Cooper is an excellent route runner and is very creative. Hargreaves and Cooper have gone against each other in college so familiarity is there between the two. The Bucs need Hargreaves to contain Cooper and not let him make the big play downfield. Hopefully if the d-line is doing their part, then Hargreaves will have an easier time containing Cooper.