On paper, it should be one of the biggest blowouts of the year. A 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team is a 16.5-point underdog heading into an extremely hostile environment to face the 7-1 Seattle Seahawks.
Of course, most thought that about the Seahawks’ last game against the St. Louis Rams that turned out to be a nail-biter. The Buccaneers are more talented than your average winless team, but have been the victim of an ugly coaching situation and dysfunctional locker room.
Still the Seahawks’ defense should be too much for Mike Glennon and the struggling Buccaneers’ offense, and Seattle should be able to win comfortably at home. There’s still a few interesting storylines to keep an eye on, however.
Seattle was gashed by a Rams’ rushing attack that came in averaging only a little over 70 yards per game. Tampa Bay’s ground game has been a little better at 93.6 yards per game, but Doug Martin is out indefinitely with a labrum injury. If backup Mike James starts ripping off huge chunks of yardage up the middle against the Seahawks, it might be time to get concerned. Otherwise, they can prove that Zac Stacy and the Rams were a one-game fluke.
Every year under Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, it seems like Seattle has some impact rookies. This year, we haven’t seen too much of that, apart from Michael Bowie filling in along the offensive line due to injury, so this week might be a good time to get some young players some touches.
Tight end Luke Willson has an interesting blend of size and speed and could have the physical skills to make an impact, but he hasn’t been involved much since Zach Miller returned. Christine Michael has also impressed on a few runs during his very limited action. There might be a log jam at running back in front of him, but why not give Michael a few more carries if the game becomes a blowout.
We are about to see a Seahawks offense that is going to start looking different than the first half of the season. Unfortunately that won’t all come this week, as Percy Harvin is getting another week to heal up from his hip injury.
Still, it will be interesting to see how Seattle’s offense changes with the loss of Sidney Rice to a torn ACL. His targets figure to go to Doug Baldwin or Jermaine Kearse, who are able players, but it leaves Seattle without a receiving target taller than 6’1’’. Baldwin or Kearse can probably make up for the loss of Rice in receiving, but we’ll have to keep an eye on how they make up for his lost downfield blocking ability.
Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
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