The Buccaneers lead the all-time series, 6-2, including wins in six of the last seven meetings. This is the first time in the regular season the Buccaneers will travel to Buffalo as all eight previous games have been played in Tampa. Five of the eight contests have been decided by seven points or less, with Tampa Bay winning the last meeting 19-3 in 2005. The two teams first met in 1976, with Buffalo claiming a 14-9 victory. The Bucs won each of the next four meetings, starting with a 31-10 win in 1978. Tampa Bay also posted wins in 1982 (24-23), 1986 (34-28), 1988 (10-5) and 2000 (31-17). Tampa Bay’s .750 winning percentage against the Bills ranks as the highest winning percentage against an opponent all-time in team history.
Date: Sunday, September 20, 2009
Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET
Site: Ralph Wilson Stadium (73,079)
2009 Records: Tampa Bay 0-1, Buffalo 0-1
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Kenny Albert, Analyst: Daryl Johnston, Sideline: Tony Siragusa
National Radio: Compass Media Networks
Play-by-Play: Chris Carrino, Analyst: Brian Baldinger
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
Last Game: Tampa Bay lost vs. Dallas 34-21; Buffalo lost at New England 25-24
Next Game: Tampa Bay vs. N.Y. Giants (9/27); Buffalo vs. New Orleans (9/27)
Aqib Talib vs. Terrell Owens
The Bucs drafted Talib specifically for these type of games. Owens is a big, physical receiver who can stretch the field and make big plays. Expect Talib’s physicality as well as his speed to match-up well Owens, who was held to just two catches for 46 yards and was kept out of the end zone against New England.
Terrence McGee vs. Antonio Bryant
The “other” receiver/cornerback match-up will also be a key factor if the Bucs want to escape Buffalo with a win. While Bryant was quiet against Dallas (two catches for 29 yards), he is still the No.1 deep threat. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson loves Byron Leftwich’s ability to throw the deep ball, and may turn to it this weekend, with Bryant being the most viable option.
Meanwhile, McGee is no slouch of a cornerback. A Pro Bowler in 2005, he played well against Randy Moss on Monday night. While Moss caught 12 balls for 141 yards, most of those catches came against zone coverage, and McGee was able to lock Moss out of the end zone the entire night.
Side note: Look for Kellen Winslow to be more involved this Sunday.
Gaines Adams vs. Demetrius Bell
The struggle in the trenches is a key match-up in any game, especially if you are the Bills, who are starting two rookies at the guard positions and a second-year player and first-year starter in Bell at left tackle. Head coach Raheem Morris has not been shy about his aspirations for Adams in 2009, officially labeling it a make-or-break year for the former first-round pick. If Adams can pressure Edwards into bad decisions, it could set-up the secondary for a better performance.
In unrelated news, Bell is the estranged son of NBA legend Karl Malone.
Jonathan Compas vs. Marcus Stroud and Kyle Williams
Compas, a rookie, will likely start in place of injured starter Jeff Faine this Sunday. His first task as an NFL starter: Keep Stroud, a four-time Pro Bowler, and Williams, who was second among Bills defensive linemen last season with 55 tackles, out of the backfield. The 6’3, 300 pound-rookie will have his hands full with the 6’6, 310-pound Stroud and 6’1, 301-pound Williams, both veterans. If the Bucs want to run the ball as effectively as they did against Dallas, Compas will have to play a key role in securing the interior.
The Buccaneer Defense vs. The No-Huddle Offense
The Bills ran a no-huddle offense much of the night against the Pats on Monday as a part of their new offensive scheme. With blown coverage’s in the secondary still causing headaches in fans’ minds from the debacle against Dallas, facing the no-huddle the following week is not the best medicine. However, while Edwards ran the offense well on Monday night, the receiving corps was not as involved as the backs and tight ends.
This takes us back to Adams ad the defensive line: If they can put enough pressure on Edwards to force quick throws and check-downs, rather than allowing Owens and the speedy Lee Evans to stretch the field, chances for a victory go up dramatically. Look for the defensive line to have a breakout performance against the young Bills unit.
Bills Head Coach: Dick Jauron
Bills Offensive Coordinator: Alex Van Pelt
Bills Defensive Coordinator: Perry Fewell
Bills Special Teams Coach: Bobby April
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
CB E.J. Biggers (shoulder), C Jeff Faine (triceps)
WR Antonio Bryant (knee)
TE John Gilmore (ankle), DE Kyle Moore (groin)
S Jermaine Phillips (calf)
LB Paul Posluszny (forearm)
CB Terrence McGee (back)
TE Derek Fine (hamstring), CB Drayton Florence (knee), DE Chris Kelsay (knee), DE Aaron Schobel (back)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
OVERALL: 5th (450 ypg)
RUSHING: 5th (174 ypg)
PASSING: 8th (276 ypg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
OVERALL: 29th (462 ypg)
RUSHING: 24th (118 ypg)
PASSING: 30th (344 ypg)
BUFFALO BILLS OFFENSE
OVERALL: 20th (276 ypg)
RUSHING: 13th (90 ypg)
PASSING: 21st (186 ypg)
BUFFALO BILLS DEFENSE
OVERALL: 26th (441 ypg)
RUSHING: 9th (73 ypg)
PASSING: 32nd (368 ypg)
Buc Central’s Prognostication:
As always we are not advocating gambling based on our views of the game, especially considering we typically are inclined to make such educated guesses using our heart rather then any rational thought applied to picking. We are merely giving an opinion of who we think has the best chance at securing a victory.