Posted in Game Previews

Game Preview: Week 8 Bucs @ Cardinals

by Staff Report on October 31, 2010

The Buccaneers have won five of the last seven meetings, as Tampa Bay and Arizona are tied 8-8 in the series, dating back to 1977. This week’s game marks the first visit to the University of Phoenix Stadium for the Buccaneers, and the first meeting in the desert, since a 12-7 Cardinal win in 2004. The Buccaneers won the first-ever meeting, a 17-7 win in 1977, and went on to win three of the first four games in the series. Tampa Bay won the most re­cent meeting, a 17-10 victory at Raymond James Stadium in 2007 and owns a 5-5 mark at home in the series. The Cardinals lead the series 3-2 in home games, including the games played in St. Louis, prior to the team’s move to Arizona in 1988.

GAME INFORMATION
Date: Sunday, October 31, 2010
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: University of Phoenix Stadium (65,000)
2010 Records: Tampa Bay 4-2, Arizona 3-3
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Chris Myers, Analyst: Brian Billick, Sideline: Jaime Maggio
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
National Radio: Compass Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Kevin Burkhardt, Color: Curtis Conway
Last Game: Tampa Bay won vs. St. Louis 18-17; Arizona lost at Seattle 22-10

Head-To-Head
The series is tied at 8-8 (Regular Season)

SERIES BY THE NUMBERS
Overall Regular Season Series:………………………. The series is tied, 8-8
Home Record vs. Arizona Cardinals:……………………………………….6-4
Road Record vs. Arizona Cardinals:………………………………………..2-4
Current Streak:…………………………………. Buccaneers, one game (2007)
Buccaneers Longest Streak:……………………….. Three games (1989-92)
Cardinals Longest Streak:………………………………Five games (1986-88)
Regular Season Point Total:……………….Buccaneers 278 – Cardinals 270
Most Points, Buccaneers:……………………….. 28, Cardinals 31-28 (1987)
Most Points, Cardinals:………………………….. 34, Cardinals 34-27 (1983)
Most Points, both teams:……………………….. 61, Cardinals 34-27 (1983)
Fewest Points, Buccaneers:………….. 7, twice, last Cardinals 12-7 (2004)
Fewest Points, Cardinals:……………………….. 0, Buccaneers 16-0 (1985)
Fewest Points, both teams:…………………….. 10, Buccaneers 7-3 (1992)

What to Watch
Bucs O-Line vs Cardinals front seven

The Bucs offensive line is without three players that started the season opener in Jeff Faine, Keydrick Vincent and Jeremy Trueblood. Missing three fifths of a starting offensive line is usually cause for concern, but after watching rookie Ted Larsen, Jeremy Zuttah and James Lee fill in last week and spark a stagnant ground game in route to helping lead the offense down the field in the final seconds of the game to take a one point lead and secure the teams fourth victory of the year. The offense will rest squarely on the shoulders of a patch work offensive line.

Josh Freeman vs Cardinals Secondary
This season, Freeman has been Mr. Third-Down, leading the team to convert at least 40.0 percent of their third-down attempts in five of the first six games, with five consecutive to start the season. It marked the first time in franchise history the team has had five consecutive games with at least a 40.0 percent third-down conversion rate.

On the year, he currently ranks seventh in the NFC in third down passer rating and has yet to throw an interception on a third down play. His legs have been just as productive on third downs, as nine of Freeman’s 23 runs this year have come on third down, with six of them resulting in first downs. Six of those nine scrambles have come on third-and-nine or longer. In just five games, Freeman has already converted two third-and-11s, two third-and-fours, a third-and-nine and a third-and-16 by running.

Freeman currently ranks fourth amongst NFC quarterbacks with a passer rating of 91.3 in the fourth quarter. Making his 16th NFL start today against the Cardinals Freeman has a record of 7-8 and five come-from-behind wins, in those 15 starts. He has completed 33-of-51 passes for 423 yards and 5 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the fourth quarter of those five come-from-behind victories – connecting on 65% of his passes and a passer rating of 123.24 in the fourth quarter of those five games.

Bucs front seven vs Beanie Wells & Tim Hightower
The Bucs defense has given up on average over 155 yards rushing per game and have allowed the last four running backs they have faced to average 139 yards a game. Even though discouraging they did turn things around in the second half of last weeks game against the Rams after allowing 121 yards on 20 carries for a 6.1 yard average the defensive front seven limited the Rams to just 40 yards on 12 carries for an 3.33 yard average in the second half.

They will once again be tested, as they face the likes of Wells and Hightower who have combined for 481 yards on 105 carries for a 4.58 yard average and three scores.

INJURY REPORT
TAMPA BAY
BUCCANEERS
Out
C Jeff Faine (quadricep)
DT Brian Price (pelvis)
OT Jeremy Trueblood (knee)
Doubtful
WR Preston Parker (knee)
Questionable
LB Geno Hayes (knee)
DE Kyle Moore (shoulder)
Probable
RB Legarrette Blount (illness)
FB Earnest Graham (hamstring)
CB Elbert Mack (heel)
DT Alex Magee (illness)
CB Aqib Talib (calf)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

ARIZONA CARDINALS
Doubtful
LB Clark Haggins (groin)
Questionable
DL Alan Branch (back)
WR Steve Breaston (knee)
LB Will Davis (knee)
WR Early Doucet (groin)
Probable
QB Max Hall (concussion)
LB Joey Porter (groin)
CB Greg Toler (back)
LB Reggie Walker (hamstring)
DT Dan Williams (groin)

ENEMY COACHES
Cardinals Head Coach: Ken Whisenhunt
Cardinals Offensive Coordinator: Ken Whisenhunt
Cardinals Defensive Coordinator: Bill Davis
Cardinals Special Teams Coach: Kevin Spencer

STATISTICAL RANKINGS:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 23rd (307.5 ypg)
Rushing: 22nd (96.7 ypg)
Passing: 18th (210.8 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 14th (14)
Points Scored: 29th (16.3 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall: 22nd (353.8 ypg)
Rushing: 31st (157.7 ypg)
Passing: 6th (196.2 ypg)
Sacks: 32nd (5)
Points Allowed: 17th (21.3 ppg)

ARIZONA CARDINALS OFFENSE
Overall: 32nd (237.8 ypg)
Rushing: 28th (91.7 ypg)
Passing: 32nd (146.2 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 30th (21)
Points Scored: 29th (16.3 ppg)
ARIZONA CARDINALS DEFENSE
Overall: 27th (368.7 ypg)
Rushing: 29th (141.3 ypg)
Passing: 21st (227.3 ypg)
Sacks: 14th (13)
Points Allowed: 28th (26.7 ppg)

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 are heart rather the any rational thought applied to picking. We are merely giving an opinion of who we think has the best chance at securing a victory.

BUCS 20
CARDINALS 13

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