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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins: Three Keys to the Game

Here three things the Bucs must do if they want to win at home vs. the Dolphins.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won five of the past six games against the Miami Dolphins and look to continue on a similar path Sunday afternoon.

After splitting a pair of games on the road the past two weeks, the Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium to face their in-state foe for the first time since 2017. 

Here are three keys for Tampa Bay to beat the Dolphins on Sunday:

1. Anticipate Miami's heavy passing game

Although the Dolphins will be without Tua Tagovailoa due to fractured ribs and will start Jacoby Brissett in his place, there's still a good chance Miami will throw a ton.

Why? There are a few reasons. First off, the Dolphins are averaging just 78.31 yards per game on the ground, 28th in the league, which is not much better than the Bucs.

Secondly, Tampa Bay's run defense is the best in the NFL. The Bucs have limited opponents to 47.5 yards a game.

The Bucs won't have safety Antoine Winfield Jr. vs. Miami, so they will need to rely on their pass-rush and pressure Brissett all afternoon in hopes of forcing turnovers.

2. Avoid turnovers of their own vs. Miami

While Tampa Bay is looking to come up with turnovers, they must protect the football themselves to avoid an upset Sunday.

Despite Miami's 1-3 start to the season, this team has two tops cornerbacks in Xavien Howard and Bryon Jones. The Dolphins duo ranked inside the top 15 for their position in the league entering this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Howard has nine pass breakups and three interceptions in his past six road games, while Jones is looking for his third straight game vs. Tampa Bay with a pass breakup and tackle for loss.

One more thing: Miami has recorded at least one takeaway in 26 consecutive games, which leads the league by a mile. The next closet is 11 games by the Dallas Cowboys.

3. Continue to run the football after last week

Leonard Fournette recorded a season-high 92 rushing yards on a season-high 20 carries last week at New England. Meanwhile, Ronald Jones totaled 25 rushing yards and scored once on the ground.

If the Bucs were smart, they would return to run the ball against the Dolphins. This is because Miami has allowed 136.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 27th in the league. 

Although Tampa Bay has struggled to run the ball, they've gotten better at moving the ball on the ground week-to-week. Entering the Patriots game, the team averaged 56 rushing yards, but that number jumped to 72 yards a game.

Considering Miami has a stronger pass defense, the Bucs should continue to run the ball the way they did against New England a week ago.

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