The Washington Football Team returns to FedExField to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both teams come out of the bye week looking to get back on track after tough Week 8 losses.
Tampa Bay is seeking to right the ship after a surprising 36-27 loss to their division opponent, the New Orleans Saints. Quarterback Tom Brady made some uncharacteristic mistakes by committing three turnovers, two of which were interceptions, while throwing for 376 yards.
Washington, currently on a four-game losing streak, is hoping the time off will allow some of its playmakers to get healthy in preparation for one of the conference's best teams. Here's what you need to know about Tampa Bay ahead of the Week 10 matchup.
1. Going against the GOAT.
It's a widely-accepted opinion that Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and NFL history. The reigning Super Bowl MVP leads all quarterbacks with 25 touchdowns and an average 331.3 yards per game. Additionally, he ranks second in the league for total passing yards on the season (2,650). For as often as the Bucs throw the ball, turnovers haven't been a huge issue. Brady had three interceptions heading into their Week 8.
However, the Saints were an exception, sacking Brady three times and forcing three turnovers. Those kinds of performances from Brady are rare, and it's almost a certainty he's going to deliver throws that only he can make. So, Washington's defense can't afford to take any plays off.
2. Washington putting pressure on Brady.
The Tampa Bay offensive line has protected Brady well this season, allowing the third-fewest sacks this season. They'll go up against a Washington defensive front with plenty of playmakers who have made steady progress pressuring quarterbacks. Over their last four games, the Washington defense has recorded 12 sacks and have 19 overall, which is tied for 13th in the league.
The group has improved thanks to solid performances from its playmakers. Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen paces Washington with six sacks on the season and leads all interior defensive tackles. Defensive end Chase Young has two forced fumbles on the season, including one in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos. The key for Washington's defensive front will be to put as much pressure on Brady, forcing him to make quick decisions.
3. Going against the top pass offense.
The Tampa Bay offense is one of the best in the league, and that's a fact backed up by numerous stats. With Brady steering the ship and a multitude of weapons in the backfield, the unit has no problem moving the ball downfield. The unit averages 432.1 per game, putting them in the top five. Most of the offense is generated through the passing game, where they lead the league with an average 327.5 yards per game. As if that wasn't enough to prove how good this offense is, the Buccaneers boast the top scoring offense with 32.5 points per game.
The Washington secondary will be put to the test against Brady and the Bucs. The offense has Chris Godwin, who leads the team with 660 yards to go with four touchdowns on the season. And there's also Mike Evans, who is Brady's top scoring option with eight touchdowns this year. The margin for error will be almost nonexistent, so the group will need to play clean and limit big plays to give itself a chance.
4. Another Top 10 defense.
Washington faced top-tier defenses against the Green Bay Packers and Broncos, and that's the case once again against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay ranks seventh in the league for yards allowed with 335.8 yards per game. The defensive line is a major strength of the Bucs. They are the second-best rush defense in the league, holding opponents to an average 78 yards per game. Despite this, Washington has seen success moving the ball downfield against stingy units.
A major strength has been the run game. Washington put up 131 rushing yards against the Saints and are 12th in the league. It may be a challenge to have a strong run game against the Bucs, but with a running back carousel consisting of Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson, Washington may be able to continue their success.