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A rematch of the 2020-21 NFC Wild Card matchup in Maryland, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are traveling to Landover this week to take on the struggling Washington Football Team on Sunday.

Jeremy Brener of SI Washington Football stops by to preview the contest and offer his insights regarding the Football Team.

1. A year removed from a playoff appearance (which ended with a loss to Tampa Bay), what has happened that's led to Washington's regression this year?

Jeremy Brener: The defense has not lived up to expectations. The unit ranked second last year in the NFL, and is now one of the worst in the league this season. Things have looked better in recent weeks, but the offense's injuries to free-agent signees Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Samuel and recently-extended Logan Thomas are being exposed and the lack of firepower is beginning to show.

2. Washington's defense, in particular, has struggled this year, specifically against the pass. What has caused the unit to take a step backwards and how concerning is this matchup with Tom Brady and his vast arsenal of weapons?

JBChase Young does not look like the dominant force he was a year ago. Offensive lines are beginning to figure him out. The secondary has also struggled to find its footing. Landon Collins started the year at safety but has now moved to linebacker, and that has brought on positive results. This is definitely a statement game for the Washington defense. They know how tall of a task Tom Brady will bring Sunday, and it's an opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes in last year's Wild Card game and a chance to turn this season around. They've had two weeks to prepare for this and they need to give the best performance they've had this season or it won't be pretty.

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3. Taylor Heinicke arguably caused more problems for Tampa Bay's defense than any QB in the playoffs last year. How well has he filled in for Ryan Fitzpatrick this year?

JBTaylor Heinicke led the WFT to game-winning drives in the fourth quarter in the only two wins of the season. However, since Week 4, the team has lost four consecutive games. In the last three games, Heinicke and the offense have failed to score 14 points. In the game against Green Bay back in Week 7, he had three trips in the red zone that resulted in zero points. His inexperience has definitely shown over the past few weeks and that folk hero magic is beginning to fade away a little bit.

4. Where does Washington stand from an injury standpoint? Did the Week 9 bye boost the team from a health standpoint?

JB: The offense has been completely decimated this season, and the bye helped these players progress in their healing, but there's still some healing left to go. There's a chance Curtis Samuel could return after the bye. Ryan Fitzpatrick is close to making a return, but it's unlikely that it comes this week. Logan Thomas is still out. Rookie tackle Sam Cosmi could return this week. We'll know more later in the week when the team releases its injury reports.

5. What's your prediction for this game and why?

JB: The Buccaneers should win this one by multiple scores. I'm expecting the game to feel similar to the Wild Card game from this past year with high scoring and some wild plays from both teams. Bucs 34, Washington 24.

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