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This week, the Tampa Bay fans, whose team is averaging 28.6 points per game and playing at home, and who just watched the Redskins get stomped on at home by the Falcons... those Tampa Bay fans are predicting a 1-point loss to the Redskins.
Redskins fans agree about the outcome, as they have predicted a 3-point win on the road against the struggling NFC South team.
With two straight losses, and the only win since Week 2 coming against the Browns, Bucs fans have understandably had their confidence shaken after starting the season hot with wins against the Saints and Eagles.
That seems a lifetime ago. In the past six games, Tampa Bay has undergone two quarterback changes on the way to a 1-5 record, yet they boast the leagues top passing offense and 2nd ranked offense overall, coming in 8th in points per game. Ryan Fitzpatrick is driving a scoring machine, while Alex Smith is mostly handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson.
In the Redskins’ 5 wins this season, Peterson is averaging 112 yards on the ground, while Alex Smith is averaging 199 yards through the air. The Redskins are ranked 25th in the league, scoring just 20 points per game.
On the face of it, Tampa Bay looks to be 8 or 9 points better than the Redskins, and two other high-powered passing attacks from the NFC South — the Saints and Falcons — combined to hand the Redskins 2 losses by a combined score of 81-33. Neither game was pretty for Redskins fans.
It would appear that the only hope for the Redskins in this contest is to figure out what they couldn’t against New Orleans and Atlanta — how to stop a highly productive passing attack.
The Redskins hold a one-game lead in the NFC East, having won 5 close contests while losing in two blowouts. The result is that the first-place Redskins have scored 160 points on the season, while their opponents have tallied 172.
The Buccaneers have posted a total of 229 points this season, but their 3-5 record and last-place standing in the division owes to the 275 points the team has surrendered to its opponents.
This game will come to a battle of strength-on-strength and weakness-on-weakness.
The Tampa Bay high-powered passing game and high scoring offense will come up against the stingy Washington defense. The winner of that battle will have a huge impact on the eventual winner of this game.
However, the anemic Bucs defense will be pitted against the largely ineffectual, and certainly low-scoring, Redskins offense. Can the ‘Skins put up enough points to get out of Florida with a win?
This is, in many ways, a bizarre matchup that is difficult to predict. The Redskins are reeling from a bad home loss and multiple injuries that leave them with a makeshift offensive line with at least one starter this week having been signed in the past 5 days (where have I heard that before)?
The Tampa Bay team is reeling from 5 losses in the past six games, after getting out to a fantastic start against the preseason favorites to win the NFC South and East divisions.
If Fitztragic shows up and throws interceptions while AD carries the ball 26 times for over a hundred yards, it could be a Redskins victory. But if the Buccaneers have early success with some big plays (Desean Jackson would love to put up a TD or two against the Redskins, I’m sure), and Alex Smith is forced to try to come from behind by passing for over 300 yards, it could be another ugly blowout loss to yet another NFC South team.
With the Eagles and the Cowboys playing the Sunday night game, the Redskins really need to put this game in the win-column, which means they probably need to get on the scoreboard early and find a way to disrupt Ryan Fitzpatrick and force him to make mistakes.