TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Michael Meegan previews Jets-Bucs.

Tom Brady makes what we hope is his final appearance against the Jets. The Bucs are the defending Super Bowl Champs and Brady has a lifetime record of 29-7 vs the Jets. While the Bucs are banged up, this is still gonna be a rough for the Jets.

Coaching: HC Bruce Arians is basically the antithesis of Bill Bellicheck and has worked well with Brady. Him and OC Byron Leftwich have helped produce one of the best offenses in the NFL these past few years constantly attacking down the field in a way Brady had not done effectively in years.
Jets fans know all about Bucs DC Todd Bowles as he is their former HC. While Bowles had many shortcomings as a HC he’s an excellent DC whose had more talent in Tampa to work then he ever did in NY. Bowles work with this defense has gotten him legitimate buzz about getting a second crack at being a HC and it’s warranted.

Personnel: While we all know about Brady the Bucs have plenty of talent around him but a lot of it is missing. Superstar WR Chris Godwin is out for the year and WRs Mike Evans and Antonio Brown are banged up and unclear if they’ll play today. The Bucs OLine is very healthy though and is one of the 3 best in the NFL and looks primed to bully an inconsistent Jets DL who will be without Quinnen Williams. They also still have future HOF TE Rob Gronkowski who will no doubt look to continue his reign of terror over the Jets.

On Defense the Bucs are also banged up as well. They will be without stars LB Lavonte David and Edge Shaq Barrett. Devin White is one of the best linebackers in the game, NT Vita Vea can stop the Jets run game on his own, and finally healthy Carlton Davis looks like one of the better CBs in the league. While this defense isn’t at full strength it’s still a good unit and a good test for the Jets offense.

Potential Weaknesses: While the Bucs injury list is long their biggest weakness is how bad their secondary has been this year. If their pass rush can’t get home this secondary has been constantly picked apart this season. It would be a big step for Zach Wilson if he can continue this and make this battle with Brady a shootout.

Matchup: Brady is gonna score 30+ on this defense. It’s a bad unit and even without all their weapons the Jets are going to struggle to stop it. This game is gonna come down to how much can the Jets offense do in response. Tampa has one of the best run defenses in the NFL so replicating last weeks 267 rushing yards performance is not likely. Zach Wilson is going to have to throw for more then 102 yards this week.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 34, Jets 24

I think the Jets cover the spread and keep this game slightly entertaining before the Bucs pull away at the end. Bucs need to win this game for seeding and won’t sleepwalk it so an upset is unlikely.