Steelers Enemy Intel: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Are you ready for Monday Night Football Steeler Nation? The Steelers have won ten consecutive games under the bright lights of Monday night Football and they travel to Raymond James Stadium with an opportunity to ascend past the turmoil and get their first win of the season. They take on the surprising 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers who boast the NFL’s number one offense after the first two weeks of the season. The Steelers will try to avoid falling behind in a suddenly tough AFC North.

Pittsburgh Steelers Enemy Intel: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offense

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the NFL in passing yards (818), passer rating (151.5) to go with eight touchdowns and a 78.3% completion percentage. Fitzpactrick has been thriving off the deep ball to recievers Desean Jackson and Mike Evans. Jackson is averaging a whopping 30.6 yards per reception and has caught all of his targets and Evans is averaging 13.5. All of this despite not having a consistent rushing attack.

The Bucs game plan with Todd Monken running the offense is to use tight end OJ Howard in favorable matchups with the Steelers linebackers and safeties in intermediate routes to set up the deep balls to their aforementioned receivers. I would expect that the Bucs would like to get more production out of RB Peyton Barber. Barber only had 22 yards on 16 carries last week against the Eagles.

Defense

The Tampa Bay defense is spearheaded by linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander. Both former Pro Bowler’s have the ability to make plays all over the field. The Bucs added Vinny Curry and Jason Pierre-Paul to their defensive line to complement former All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy.

These acquisitions have helped out their run defense, however their pass defense has become an issue. CB Vernon Hargreaves is on injured reserve and Brent Grimes has not played this season so far because of a groin injury. This has resulted in Carton Davis, MJ Stewart and former Pitt standout Jordan Whitehead all seeing significant playing time as rookies. This has resulted in the Buccaneers allowing opposing quarterbacks to compete over 77% of their passes and a 115.6 passer rating. Both stats are league highs.

One player to watch out for on Monday is SS Justin Evans. Evans had three interceptions in 2017 and a fumble return for a touchdown in week one against the Saints.

Special Teams

Desean Jackson has four career punt return touchdowns

Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point and a field goal last week

Brian Anger has a career 46.3 punt average

Prediction

Steelers will ascend past the drama at least for this week and Ben Roethlisberger will make enough plays to win a high scoring game. Steelers 35, Buccaneers 31

@bwalkerdadon

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