It was rainy, it was ugly, but it was a win. And as a result, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain the NFL’s second-best team after their close win over the New England Patriots, according to Sports Illustrated.
SI’s Jenny Vrentas explains why the Bucs were able to hold strong despite looking rather beatable against what was then a 1-2 Patriots squad:
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3–1)
Last week: Win at New England, 19-17
Next week: vs. Miami
The Buccaneers were flawed on Sunday night in New England. But even with an injury-ravaged secondary, and Rob Gronkowski and Jason Pierre-Paul back home in Tampa, they found a way to win on what was clearly an emotionally taxing night for Tom Brady despite his best efforts to make it seem otherwise. As Todd Bowles figures out how to scheme around deficiencies in the secondary, two of their next three opponents rank in the bottom three in the league in passing yards.
Vrentas is spot-on when it comes to the Bucs’ next few opponents, especially this week’s opponent in the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have been outscored, 93-45 in their last three games and are currently No. 26 in the Week 5 edition of SI’s power rankings. Starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett has completed 63.9% of his passes and has thrown for just 583 yards, two touchdowns and one interception over the last three games.
26. Miami Dolphins (1–3)
Last week: Loss vs. Indianapolis, 27-17
Next week: at Tampa Bay
There are teams who are figuring it out on offense, and teams who are not. The Dolphins are in the latter category. They managed just 200 yards of offense against the Colts, and while starting QB Tua Tagovailoa has been sidelined, if you listen to the Monday Morning podcast you’ll know that Gary Gramling has made the point that Jacoby Brissett has more than enough ability for his coaches to utilize. Brian Flores has kept the team’s play-calling hierarchy close to the vest, which also makes it easier for the team to make a private shake-up.
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