Will the Buccaneers get back to form?

Will Buccaneers Capitalise on Washington’s Injuries?

The Washington Redskins have a huge opportunity to take control of the NFC East as they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Redskins are 5-3 in their campaign and currently top their division, but only have a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Washington suffered a hammering at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons last week, which ended a run of three-straight victories for Jay Gruden’s men. They’ve since suffered a host of injuries on the offensive line, including the loss for the campaign of Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff.

Alex Smith has been solid in his role as quarterback since his arrival from the Kansas City Chiefs. However, the club need to become more effective on offense to ease the pressure on their defense.

Tampa Bay have the worst defense in the NFL heading into the contest. The Carolina Panthers scored 42 points against Dirk Koetter’s side last week, while the Cincinnati Bengals notched 37 in their prior contest.

Ryan Fitzpatrick performed well once again for the Buccaneers’ offense, putting 28 points on the board in their defeat to the Panthers. Without support from the defense though, his displays will be for nothing. There’s an opportunity for Tampa Bay this week to capitalise on Washington’s injury problems to claim a much-needed victory.

Will the Buccaneers get back to form?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have lost five out of their last six matches after making a bright start to the season. Tampa Bay are still the only team to have beaten the New Orleans Saints this term, besting Sean Payton’s men on the opening day of the season. Another impressive win followed over the reigning Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles. A close loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers ended their run and the club have not been the same since, beating only the Cleveland Browns since September.

The decision of Koetter to start Jameis Winston after his return from suspension did not pay dividends. Fitzpatrick had proven to be a good option for the Buccaneers, especially given the talent in their receiving corps. Whereas Winston struggled to connect with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and OJ Howard, Fitzpatrick has thrived and boasts one of the best quarterback ratings in the NFL. He has thrown 17 touchdowns to seven interceptions on the campaign – the same amount as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The 35-year-old does have his flaws, but he has proven to be a far superior player in this offense to Winston. Evans had a game to forget against the Panthers after being held in check. He’s too good of a player to be held down in back-to-back weeks. Adam Humphries took centre stage with two touchdowns in the defeat to the Panthers. His performance highlights the depth of talent the Buccaneers on the offense outside of their stars.

Tampa Bay have allowed a staggering 275 points in their eight matches this term, conceding an average of 34.7 points per game. There’s talent on the defense, but they’ve not managed to find their form. Jason Pierre-Paul has eight sacks on the year and is a quality pass-rusher, although he has not had support on the line. Gerald McCoy has had issues with injuries and failed to find his best, while the same could be said of Lavonte David. The secondary more than any other unit has failed the team. It will be the reason why the Buccaneers endure another disappointing campaign.

Washington Redskins

The Redskins suffered a huge blow in losing Scherff in the middle of their offensive line. He along with his team-mates have been key in the club’s success in the ground game. Adrian Peterson has found the fountain of youth running behind Washington’s offensive line. The 34-year-old has amassed 604 yards at an average of 4.4 yards per carry along with four touchdowns. Scherff has been lost for the season with a torn pec, while fellow offensive lineman Morgan Moses and Trent Williams have been limited with injuries of their own.

The Redskins have been forced into action to add replacements from the free-agent market, which could leave Smith and Peterson exposed in the backfield. Paul Richardson has also been lost for the term with a shoulder injury. It will be a testament to the quality of Gruden’s coaching if the Redskins are able to overcome their spate of injuries and continue their surge for the playoffs.

Atlanta turned on the offensive power to crush the Redskins last week, scoring 38 points to claim a comfortable win at FedEx Field. It’s not the sort of game that Washington are suited for, with Smith and his offense unable to keep pace with the high-powered units in the NFL. Smith has thrown for nine touchdowns on the term, and now being without one of his leading weapons in Richardson, the offense will be less explosive than ever. Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson and Josh Doctson need to rise to the occasion to replace Richardson’s production along with impressive rookie Maurice Harris.

Washington’s defense has been solid for the majority of the campaign. Their performance against the Falcons as an outlier given that they’re in the top 10 for the fewest points allowed. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will further strengthen the secondary as he acclimatises to his new club. Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen and Matthew Ioannidis have been key on the defensive line, providing pressure on the quarterback. Preston Smith has been surprisingly quiet, failing to notch a sack this season. He will come good sooner or later and it would be timely against the Buccaneers.

Betting Options

The Buccaneers are playing Washington at a good time in light of their injuries. Although their defense has had huge problems this season, their offense led by Fitzpatrick has been consistent. Tampa Bay have the potential to blow the Redskins away with their power on offense. Smith and his team-mates are not designed to put multiple scores on the board at a rapid pace.

Therefore take the Buccaneers to claim the win on home soil at odds of -153   with BetOnline. Washington’s problem with explosive offenses could be their Achilles heel this term. Back the Buccaneers to win the contest by a touchdown at -6 on the spread at odds of +140   with 888Sport. The over/under line for total points has been set at 51 points by TopBet, take the over for the contest at odds of -110 .

Tips Summary

Tampa Bay Buccaneers To Beat Washington Redskins
Sunday 11th November 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Odds: -153

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6 Spread
Sunday 11th November 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Odds: +140

Over 51 Points To Be Scored
Sunday 11th November 2018 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Odds: -110

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