Go into MetLife Stadium over-confident if you want to
Depending on where your interests are, whether it be offense, defense, receivers, linebackers, or running backs. There is plenty to take in this week in East Rutherford New Jersey at Metlife Stadium. When are the Jets not the Jets? In the 2021/2022 NFL Season, that’s when. This season has been full of big upsets. Goliath taking a stone to the forehead from young David’s sling has been a thing this season. For example, the Jets have 4 wins this season. Two are against teams you expect them to have a good shot at beating (Texans, Jaguars). The other two are division leaders (Titans, Bengals), both of the quality wins, and the Jaguars’ win was all done at home. Only the Texans game was away from Metlife Stadium. It’s fair to say that both the Titans and Bengals probably expected to leave New Jersey winners. The Bucs had better play hard and make sure they get out of there with another W. Doing the opposite is completely capable of happening with all the injuries and covid protocol victims the Bucs have.
Running back usage, who will get the touches
It’s no secret I’m a very big Ronald Jones II fan. I feel the Bucs have only seen a small fraction of what Jones can do, and he has been a wasted commodity for the Bucs this season. Then Fournette goes down with an unfortunate hamstring injury. I hate that it happened, but it did. I was happy for Jones, at least that he was finally going to get some playing time and show his stuff. He hasn’t had much of a chance to do that this season; even in mop-up duty, he’s still usually right there on the bench, as Fournette is kept in the game, getting still more carries. Enter Ke’Shawn Vaughn last week, who busted off the longest run from scrimmage this season by a Bucs Back, taking it in from 55-yards out for his first rushing NFL Touchdown. Of course, that led Bruce Arians to say that Vaughn isn’t just a third-down back; he’s a lead dog — this leads to speculation that Jones again may somehow be left out in the cold and on the bench, again, while Fournette works his way back. Jones will be gone after this season, I believe. Vaughn, who was expected to contribute in the passing game when drafted, dropped an easy pass against the Panthers; Jones usually finds himself benched after a drop. But Arians never even flinched, and it didn’t affect Vaughn’s touches the rest of the way either. So keep your eye on the play distribution between the two; it should be interesting.
Wide Receivers: Next man-up!
Chris Godwin is down for the count, and Mike Evans is a game-time decision, so if Evans is out, look for Breshad Perriman as well as Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson, and even Cyril Grayson, see some balls come their way. It’s a good thing the Bucs are deep at the position. Although depth cannot completely account for the loss of studs receivers, Brady shouldn’t have problems getting the balls to the next guys up, who are pretty good in their own right.
Defensively it’s the same story.
The next man-up moniker is ruling the day for the Bucs all over the field. It seems like the Bucs just can’t catch a break this season on injuries. Again, depth is vitally important and will either show up or get exposed Sunday. Bowles will find a way to keep things held down with backups/depth against the Jets; if not, it’s going to be a long day. Keeping one eye on not being over-confident, it is still the Jets. Go out and deliver a beat-down Buccaneers. So tune in to your favorite team on Sunday and enjoy. Happy New Year, Go Bucs!!