This Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are heading to FedEx Field in a pivotal week 10 matchup against the Washington Football Team. Both Tampa Bay and Washington are coming off of a bye week and a loss in their last game to the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos, respectively. It’ll be a tall order for Washington to knock down the defending Super Bowl champions, but how can they do it? Here are three matchups to watch this Sunday.
Mike Evans vs. Kendall Fuller
Evans has been a WFT killer throughout his career. Evans has played three games against the Washington Football Team throughout his career and has accumulated 18 receptions for 424 yards and three touchdowns. Evans averaged nearly 24 yards per reception, which is his highest average against any team he has faced. Oh, by the way, this does not include the 2020 playoffs, where he hauled in six catches for 119 yards. Fuller and Jackson will have their hands full trying to stop the Tom Brady and Evans connection; however, Fuller will likely be most vulnerable this Sunday due to size matchups. Oftentimes, Evans can have his way against the smaller defensive backs; his strength and vertical typically wins out more than anything else. Fuller will need to show some aggression when facing up against Evans, which would involve him playing closer to the line of scrimmage rather than off-coverage, allowing Evans space and a free release.
Donovan Smith vs. Chase Young
Chase Young has been under fire this year by fans and media alike. With just 1.5 sacks in eight games played, Young’s sophomore season has been a complete dud to this point. When the Buccaneers played Washington in the 2020 playoffs, Young was erased from the game against offensive tackle Donovan Smith. Young finished the playoff game with zero sacks and two quarterback pressures, facing Smith on 62 of Young’s 64 defensive snaps. With the absence of Montez Sweat, who will be inactive for at least a month with a broken jaw, there is a significant need for someone to step up amongst the edge rushers. Young should be that guy; however, he has not been able to prove he’s capable of such as this season has gone along.
Taylor Heinicke vs. Buccaneers secondary
Tampa Bay’s secondary is in flux right now, even with the recent news of cornerbacks Dee Delaney and Richard Sherman expecting to play against Washington. Heinicke has regressed to the mean after an impressive first four games to start the season. However, to win, Heinicke must create opportunities for this offense by being an aggressive passer and challenging a secondary in disarray. The Buccaneers defense has the second-most pass interference penalties(10) and the league’s fourth-most defensive holding penalties(4). So, it does not matter who is back there in the secondary, but if Heinicke fails to challenge that position group, expect the Buccaneers defense to take control of the game when they are on the field.
What are some of your key matchups in Washington’s week ten showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?