by Douglas O’Connor
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Turnovers, penalties, and the ability to run the ball are tried and true factors to winning any NFL game. Dig a little deeper and you will find it’s the little things that are just as important to gaining a victory . Here are some things to watch in the Buccaneers game against the Seahawks that can translate into a big win for Tampa.
Rushing Lanes The Bucs defensive ends, especially Noah Spence, use their superior speed to out race the offensive tackle to a preconceived spot in the backfield hoping to find the quarterback just finishing his drop back. This outside speed rush opens up huge lanes in between the rushing DE and the DT trying to collapse the pocket from the inside. Seattle QB Russell Wilson is exceptional at seeing these open lanes and using the space to extend plays and finding open receivers after the coverage breaks down. Look for the Bucs DE’s to use more inside spin moves and to directly attack the OT inside shoulder to keep the lanes closed forcing Wilson to stay in the pocket and make quicker decisions.
Backside Coverage Head coach Dirk Koetter and Defensive coordinator Mike Smith both made a point to mention Russell Wilson’s ability to throw to open men on the opposite side of the field while scrambling. Normally this is frowned upon by offensive coordinators because of the high interception rate, Wilson is making it a weapon. Look for the off corner, safety, and linebacker to stick to their man like glue until Wilson crosses the line of scrimmage.
Open Set The Bucs never run a 4 wide receiver set, but they will line up in a 3 WR set with the tight end split out from the line. Pro Bowl S Earl Thomas is inactive and with Richard Sherman shadowing Mike Evans look for the Bucs to spread out the field to get some 1 on 1 match ups with the 2nd string safety.
The Bucs are looking for two straight victories against elite NFL opponents. With a win today the national media will sit up and take notice. These three factors could be the difference against the Seahawks.
Thanks for reading and as always GO BUCS!