Steelers vs Buccaneers Preview

ryan fitzpatrick
Photo courtesy: Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

Ryan Fitzpatrick has been the main story of the young NFL season, along with Patrick Mahomes, and now he’ll get the chance to perform on a national stage on Monday Night Football. The Pittsburgh defense hasn’t exactly been a roadblock for opposing offenses this season, so if Fitzpatrick is going to continue doing what he has been doing, he has a good opportunity in front of him in the teams’ last game until Jameis Winston comes back from his three-game suspension to start the season.

Steelers offense vs Buccaneers defense

Coming into the season, I thought the defense was going to be the strength of the Buccaneers team and that just has not been the case. Now granted they did play New Orleans in week one, who has one of the better offenses in the league, but they also didn’t look amazing last week against Philadelphia, who hasn’t been this season what they were at the end of last season in the playoffs on the offensive side of the ball.

Even with the absence of Le’Veon Bell, the Pittsburgh offense has still been putting up big numbers and that’s not surprising considering they still have some very good weapons like Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jesse James, to name a few.

I’m expecting the Steelers to be able to put up some points in this game, but I do think they need to get a running game going somewhat with James Conner. It’s no secret that Roethlisberger and those receivers make that offense so dynamic, but they are a lot more consistent when they have a running game the defense at least has to respect. They will also need to do a better job of avoiding turnovers.

Steelers defense vs Buccaneers offense

Nothing that either of these two units has done this season would make me think that the Steelers will be able to hold down the Tampa Bay offense. Now I’m not sure how much of a believer I am in what Ryan Fitzpatrick has been doing and the sustainability of it going throughout the season, but even with that, the Steelers defense is just not a typical Pittsburgh defense.

Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and those other targets have been so good this season at getting behind defenses and making big plays, and of course putting up points in bunches is much easier when you’re making explosive plays.

I don’t view this as much of a matchup so I don’t think it needs to be broken down too much. Like I said, nothing I’ve seen from either of these two units has me thinking the Steelers can put up a ton of resistance.

Special teams

I don’t view either team has having a significant advantage in this department, but I’m going to give a slight edge to the Steelers with Chris Boswell. I don’t think either team will have a great advantage in the return game though.

Overall

I’m expecting some points to be put up in this one. Ultimately I’m going with the Buccaneers because they’re at home. I think these two teams are pretty similar in the fact that they have both put up a good amount of points this season but they haven’t played the greatest on defense.

Pick: Buccaneers

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