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Key Matchups: Buccaneers vs. Bills

Posted Dec 6, 2013

RB Bobby Rainey hopes to find some running room against the Bills' 24th-ranked rush defense Sunday, but prime Rookie of the Year candidate Kiko Alonso could be in the way

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9) will take on the Buffalo Bills (4-8) on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Here are several matchups between individual players and/or certain team units that could go a long way towards determining the game's final outcome:

Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon vs. Bills Safeties
In three of the last five games, Glennon has posted a passer rating of at least 123 with two TDs and no interceptions. He must keep a clean sheet in this game against the Bills’ ball-hawking safeties. The Buffalo secondary has been feast or famine this year, allowing just 232 passing yards per game (ypg) and three Bills safeties have recorded three interceptions each. However they have given up the fourth-most passing TDs (23) and third-most 40+ yard passing plays (13).

-- RB B. Rainey is averaging 4.0 yards per carry since taking over as the Bucs' lead back
RB Bobby Rainey vs. LB Kiko Alonso
Averaging 21 carries and 87 yards per game over the last three weeks, Rainey has been the Buccaneers’ go-to back. He leads the Bucs‘ rushing attack against a 24th-ranked Bills’ run defense that has allowed 121.5 ypg. Alonso is on the short list for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, and ranks second in the NFL with 125 total tackles.

DT Gerald McCoy and Co. vs. RBs CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson
The Bills‘ running back tandem has 1,686 total yards this season, nearly 42% off the team’s total offensive yardage. It’ll be up to McCoy to continue clogging run lanes and for the rest of the front seven to clean up, both in the running and receiving games. The Bucs defense is fifth in the NFL in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage.

LB Lavonte David vs. QB EJ Manuel
The Bucs must get to Manuel and force him to hurry his decisions and make mistakes. Manuel has been sacked twice as many times per game and throws 2.3 yards per reception less in losses as he has in wins. David is second on the team in sacks and tied for first in interceptions and must get to Manuel to keep the Bills’ stats down.

WR Vincent Jackson vs. CB Leodis McKelvin
Vincent Jackson ranks 13th in the league in receiving yards, just 37 away from notching another 1,000-yard season. While the Bills have been among the best in the league defending the pass vs. RBs and TEs, they struggle against opposing receivers, allowing the third-most yards and second-most touchdowns in the NFL. Jackson will aim for his fifth 100+-yard game of the season this week.

Bucs O-Line vs. DT Marcell Dareus and DE Mario Williams
The Buffalo Bills lead the league in sacks this season and are on pace for 57, which would be the highest single-season sack total in the NFL since 2008. This attack is led by Dareus and Williams, who have six and 12 sacks this year, respectively. Glennon has been sacked 26 times this season. It is up to his offensive line to stop these two dominant pass rushers and keep their QB off his back.