Game Scout: Bills at Buccaneers

Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Buffalo Bills (4-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein
*Keys to the game: The Bucs' offense regressed last week, dictated by Carolina's excellent front seven. Rookie QB Mike Glennon has plenty of arm with which to attack Buffalo's shaky secondary, but he needs RB Bobby Rainey to earn the respect of the Bills' front seven and take some of the aggression away from an excellent pass rush with Tampa Bay's pass protection an issue in recent weeks. Defensively, the Bucs know they're going to face a heavy dose of RBs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson. While the Bills want to continue to push QB EJ Manuel in his development, the rookie lacks standout playmakers downfield and is often cautious in going through his reads. Buffalo will go up-tempo and attempt to catch Tampa Bay in mismatches, and the difference could ultimately come down to how well the Bucs contain Spiller, who finally has regained his burst after dealing with a sprained ankle much of the season.
*Matchup to watch - Bills DE Mario Williams vs. Bucs LT Donald Penn: Penn is one of more solid veteran blind-side protectors in the league, but he was also pegged for two sacks allowed last week. Williams leads the Bills with 12 sacks this season, but Buffalo has too many other quality pass rushers for Tampa Bay to provide Penn with much help.
*Player spotlight - Bucs LB Dekoda Watson: Watson returns to the strong side to replace Jonathan Casillas, who was placed on injured reserve this week.
*Fast facts: The Bills lead the NFL with 43 sacks, seven more than they produced all of last season and six shy of the team record set in 1995. ... Glennon has thrown 10 TDs against two INTS over his past seven games.
Both teams have talent that is better than their records indicate. They're also in the "establish momentum for next year" phase of their seasons. Buffalo has lamented finding new ways to lose games on a nearly weekly basis, which is a fatal flaw on the road.
*Our pick: Buccaneers 21-20

What to Read Next