The NFC is wide-open for the taking, and seemingly no workforce exterior of Philadelphia desires to grab it.
Among the many convention’s projected preseason favorites, no fall-off feels extra inexcusable than that of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are at present 1-3 in video games performed exterior of the NFC South. By six weeks, they share a tenuous spot atop a division with two groups with out long-term plans at quarterback and one which has already fired its head coach. The workforce that led the league in offensive DVOA final yr seems pedestrian at greatest, barely cracking 20 factors per sport. They’ve solely one sport over 21 factors all season. Whereas the protection that misplaced important personnel hasn’t misplaced a step, the offense that added new receiving expertise is barely holding onto a optimistic DVOA.
Their Week 6 20-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers is the newest instance of this aversion to good soccer. The Steelers basically performed this sport with out their beginning secondary, lacking one beginning security and three beginning cornerbacks. No Minkah Fitzpatrick, no Cameron Sutton, Levi Wallace and no Ahkello Witherspoon. This does not even take into account the lack of reigning Defensive Participant of the 12 months T.J. Watt, who actually would have wreaked havoc on the Tampa Bay offense if he had been within the sport.
What was the sport plan for this sort of matchup? Run the ball, in fact; unsuccessfully at that. Tampa Bay opened up eight of its 10 drives with a 1st-and-10 run. Solely a kind of 10 runs went for greater than three yards, and solely 4 went for optimistic yards. The play name is simply Tampa Bay actively electing to shoot itself within the foot. Tampa Bay had 4 3-and-outs on the day, and every of these drives began with a 1st-and-10 run try.
Tampa Bay completed the afternoon with 75 yards on 26 carries, averaging fewer than three yards per carry. A part of that has to do with Tampa Bay’s porous offensive line, a unit that has admittedly handled accidents and turnover for the reason that begin of the season. Leonard Fournette confronted eight or extra males within the field on 19% of rushes, in accordance with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, however that does not matter when there are black-and-yellow uniforms ready for you by the point the ball is handed off.