By Max Luckan
After winning three games in a row, things were starting to look up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, their winning streak was derailed Sunday by the Carolina Panthers, who have now won eight games in a row.
The Bucs were simply outplayed in that game and never really had a chance. But this week, the Bucs will have a chance to redeem themselves against the Buffalo Bills at home. Usually, the Bucs do not play well at all in cold weather games, so luckily for them, this one will be at home in Tampa. That being said, the Bills will not go down without a fight.
Bills Season Record
Currently, the Bills hold a record of 4-8 on the season and are in last place in the AFC East. However, the Bills have been riddled with injuries all season long.
Despite the injuries, the Bills have solid wins over the Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. However, they suffered disappointing losses to the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons. The Bills likely won’t be able to contend for a playoff spot this season, but they are still looking to win against the Bucs.
Bills on Offense
As mentioned, Buffalo has been hammered by injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson has been limited with a groin injury, and running back C.J. Spiller has also been slowed by injuries.
Perhaps more importantly, the Bills had mostly been without starting quarterback E.J. Manuel, but he returned last week against the Atlanta Falcons. Manuel actually did not play poorly in his first start back, but was unable to lead the team to a victory. The Bills offense should be much more explosive than it currently is, as they are only averaging 22.2 points per game, which is good for 20th in the NFL. However, the injuries have really slowed down an offense that has a lot of potential with the weapons they have.
Bills on Defense
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs and Bills are actually very similar when it comes to the statistics. The Bills are allowing an average of 354.1 yards per game on defense, which is just two more per game than the Bucs are allowing.
Again, the Bills have been hit by injuries, mainly defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who has been slowed by a back problem for a while now. The team’s best player on defense is certainly defensive end Mario Williams, who has racked up 12 sacks so far this season. Because of Williams’ pass rushing ability, the Bills like to dial-up the blitzes in bunches.
Bills Players to Watch
Mario Williams: Williams is almost impossible to stop coming off the edge. It will likely be Donald Penn’s task to try to slow him down, which won’t be easy
C.J. Spiller: He has underperformed this season for the most part, but he could break out a huge game at any time.
Leodis McKelvin: The cornerback is pretty good on defense, but in the kick return game he is even more dangerous. McKelvin could break a big run at any point in the game.
The Bucs actually lead the all-time series with the Bills 6-3, but lost by 13 points the last time these two teams played. This will be head coach Greg Schiano’s first time playing the Bills, who are led by first-year head coach Doug Marrone.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.