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Buccaneers vs. Dolphins: Bold Predictions

The Week 5 bolds are in!

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday with the goal of doing something they didn't do last year: amass a 4-1 record. 

The odds of that happening are pretty good, but what are the odds of this week's bold predictions popping off?

Bold predictions record through Week 4: 6-14


5. The Bucs defense holds an opponent under 20 points in back-to-back weeks

Believe it or not, the Bucs have done this just once since the arrival of Todd Bowles and that happened in Weeks 2 and 3 of last year when the Bucs beat the Panthers 34-17 and then went up to Denver and beat the Broncos, 28-10. 

To put it nicely: Miami's offense is not good. At all. There is definitely a chance that the Dolphins grab a couple turnovers which puts the offense in better position to score points, but the Bucs defense comes through and holds Miami under 20 points this week. 

4. Giovani Bernard is the most productive running back on the Bucs roster

Bernard was the team's primary back in Week 3 against the Rams and it wasn't just in terms of production. Bernard was in the game for 33 snaps, which was more than Leonard Fournette (26) and Ronald Jones II (12) received.

The veteran back made it count, recording nine receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. The 51 yards led all Bucs in terms of total yardage that week.

Who knows how much playing time Bernard receives last week if he doesn't hurt his knee on the final drive against the Rams. Either way, I think the Bucs are going to continue to mix Bernard in frequently and not hold him out for just third down or two-minute situations. As a result, he is the Bucs' most productive running back this week.

3. Jacoby Brissett stays under 200 yards passing

It's safe to say that so far, each quarterback the Bucs has faced has had a pretty good day in the overall scheme of things.

That won't happen this week, however. First off, the trio of Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan, and Matthew Stafford will give any team its fair share of trouble and then Mac Jones isn't your typical rookie quarterback. Brissett, on the other hand, isn't on the same level as the aforementioned players. And with all due respect, it's a struggle to even label him as average.

He does have a good set of receivers in Jaylen Waddle and Devante Parker, as well as a good tight end in Mike Gesicki, but Brissett's skill set mixed in with a bad offensive line will be the catalysts toward another ho-hum day for the sixth-year quarterback. 

2. Ross Cockrell notches at least one interception and one sack

Cockrell is the team's primary nickelback due to Sean Murphy-Bunting's injury, although he'll swap out with other players from time-to-time based off the assignment. 

Per Sports Info Solutions, the duo of Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett have targeted the slot position 68 combined times so far this year, which is the seventh-most targets through four weeks. Waddle is also Miami's primary slot receiver and per Pro Football Focus, he's seen the second-most targets (29) among all rookie receivers  and is just one target behind Parker for the team lead (30).

Todd Bowles also likes to blitz Cockrell a lot. SIS has Bowles blitzing Cockrell 12 times so far this year, which is the most out of all the other corners and safeties on the team and it's the third-highest amount among all corners in the NFL.

Cockrell will see plenty of action because of this and will snag at least one of these pass attempts and one of his blitzes will get home, thus notching his first interception and sack (or more) as a Buccaneer.

1. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka records 2.0+ sacks two weeks in a row

Tryon-Shoyinka played an impressive 85% of defensive snaps against the Patriots last week and had 2.0 sacks to show for it. Bruce Arians said Friday that Jason Pierre-Paul is "ready to roll", but how much he plays is still unknown. Either way, JPP is bound to cut into the rookie's playing time. 

But that won't limit Tryon-Shoyinka's production. It's not just the former Huskie's athletic abilities/traits that allows him to produce - it's also about how Todd Bowles uses him.

Watch Tryon-Shoyinka's second sack against the Patriots below. He's the looper on the stunt with Vita Vea. Tryon-Shoyinka is also helped by the fact that Vea literally bulldozes a path for him, but that's part of this bold prediction, as well. Tryon-Shoyinka has everything in place/around him in order to succeed.

So, even with the likely cut in playing time (assuming JPP plays), Tryon-Shoyinka will become just the 13th rookie since 1960 to record at least 2.0 sacks in consecutive weeks.

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