Last week, I started the “By the Box Preview” as there were enough games to have a better gauge of averages for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ production. Here was last week’s By the Box Preview: vs KC. It was a good primer and the game came down to a turnover, as predicted in the conclusion of that article. Now, onto the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle’s Defense

Bucs Sea
Off Pass      (yds/g) Off Rush   (yds/g) PF         (ppg) Def Pass      (yds/g) Def Rush   (yds/g) PA         (ppga)
Rank 12th 16th 16th 10th 11 1st
Yds/g 260 106 23.5 237 98.4 17.3
Diff (Def – Off)
Pass Rush PA
yards yards points
-23 -7.6 -6.2

Last week, the Bucs faced a KC team that allowed only 18.7 ppg and won!  Not surprisingly, the Bucs managed to only score 19 points.

This week, the Bucs are presented with yet another high end defense -€” actually, the best defense in the league based upon points allowed per game, PPGA. A silver lining would be that Seattle may not have S Earl Thomas and DE Michael Bennett for this game. Thomas has 46 tackles, 9 passes defended (PDs), and 2 interceptions for the year.  Bennett has 24 tackles, 3 sacks, and 4 tackles for loss (TFLs).

Those two players out would be a boon for the Bucs’ passing offense as they would give time for Winston to throw and Winston can play with the Seahawks’ safeties with his eyes.

At SBNation’s Seattle site, Field Gulls, Samuel R Gold picks apart two interceptions thrown by Eagle’s QB Carson Wentz. On Wentz’ first interception, he stared down his WR and the safety followed Wentz’ eyes for an easy INT.

Here is a link if the embed code does not work:  video link

We know Winston can manipulate safeties with his eyes, but he also has a tendency to stare down Evans.  Although, last week, Winston did pepper the ball around to his receivers. If Winston can distribute the ball to the open receiver, then that makes Mike Evans that much more dangerous.

Great news for the Bucs recently is that LG Kevin Pamphile passed the concussion protocol. He has been at full practice for the past two weeks. According to Football Outsiders, the Bucs love to run up the middle 66% of the time and are very good at it, ranking 4th overall. This can only spell great things for the run game, with Doug Martin getting better each week as he recovers from his injury.  Against the Chiefs last week, the Bucs permitted 6 TFL’s and Martin gaining 69 yards after first contact.

The best way to win this game for the Bucs’ offense is to keep doing what they have been doing to win games -€” own time of possession.

Bucs’ Defense

Sea Bucs
Off Pass      (yds/g) Off Rush   (yds/g) PF         (ppg) Def Pass      (yds/g) Def Rush   (yds/g) PA         (ppga)
Rank 8th 28th 20th 25th 25th 24th
Yds/g 266.5 85.1 21.9 267 114.7 25.9
Diff (Def – Off)
Pass Rush PA
yards yards points
0.5 29.6 4

Seattle’s numbers dictate that they are a very one-dimensional offense, but teams still cannot stop them from moving the ball. With the best preventative scoring defenses, Seattle’s offense just needs to be opportunistic.

I looked into Seattle’s last game against the Eagles. Here’s what I found:

1.        Both RB’s had runs of 12 yards or more.  C.J. Prosise with a 72 yard run and Thomas Rawls with an 18 yard run.

2.       Five different pass catchers notched at least a catch of 16 yards or more, 4 WRs and 1 RB.

This spells trouble for the Bucs defense because it has the propensity to give up explosive plays. Against Kansas City, the Bucs gave up two bombs over 40 yards and Spencer Ware had a 15 yard scamper.

How do you combat the explosive plays? Get to the QB on passing downs. Tackle better on running downs. We are going to need our defensive line to not only get a pass rush on QB Russell Wilson, but have speedsters that can close on him fast! Noah Spence, this is the game for your specific skills. Do not give Wilson time to create an explosive play.

There is enough tape for Bucs’ DC Mike Smith to help mitigate explosive plays. Seattle is a defensive oriented team and they do not need many explosive plays to win a game, just enough explosive plays to score more than the opposition’s offense.

Bucs’ Offensive Opponents
Scoring to Results
Game Rank Team PPG Game Scored Bucs Result
5 12th Car 24.4 14 Win
6 22nd SF 20.8 17 Blowout Win
7 5th Oak 27.2 24 (30 – OT) OT Loss
8 1st Atl 32 43 Blowout Loss
9 31st Chi 15.7 10 Blowout Win
10 17th KC 22.8 17 Close Win
11 20th Sea 21.9

Last week, the Bucs’ defense stayed true to form in preventing the KC from scoring to their season’s average.

Although Seattle’s average scoring is 21.9 ppg, their recent triplet of games has them outputting 29.33 ppg against Buffalo, New England, and Philadelphia. The latter two being ranked 3rd and 4th best, at PPGA at 18.0 and 18.6 points respectively. The Bucs’ defense might not keep Seattle below their season average, but I surely hope they can keep it below 29 points.

Conclusion

Seattle’s offense is better than their season average. The Bucs’ defense is better than their season average. Both offenses mirror one another such that they rely on explosive plays to help generate scoring (and that is probably because they both have rushing problems on offense). Defensively, the Bucs’ offense is coming in hot in terms of turnovers. Can the Bucs’ defense force Wilson to make an explosive play early and cause a turnover?

Defensively, this game will come down to mitigating explosive plays and turnovers for the Bucs.

Offensively, establish the run game.  Winston is best out of play-action. Oh, and score TD’s in the Red Zone.

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Article first appeared on www.bucsnation.com