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Key Matchups: Buccaneers vs. Seahawks

Posted Nov 1, 2013

Among the specific battles to keep an eye on Sunday in Seattle will be rising WR Golden Tate against Bucs CB Darrelle Revis and Tampa Bay's efforts on offense to fight the crowd noise

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7) will take on the Seattle Seahawks (7-1) on Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. 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:

-- QB M. Glennon and the Bucs' offense will have significant crowd noise to deal with
Seattle QB Russell Wilson vs. Buccaneer Defensive Ends
The Buccaneers must take advantage of a banged up Seattle offensive line and get to the quarterback in this game. Last week, the St. Louis Rams' defensive ends combined for seven sacks, with the starting tandem of Chris Long and Robert Quinn accounting for six of them. The pressure disrupted Wilson, who completed just 10 of 18 passes for 139 yards (80 of those coming on one play). Even with this pressure, the heady Wilson managed to toss two scores and ultimately get the win. Buc DEs Adrian Clayborn, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Da'Quan Bowers must get pressure on Wilson, force turnovers and contain the fleet Seattle quarterback in the run game (339 rushing yards this season).

Tampa Bay WR Vincent Jackson vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman
Seahawk cornerback Sherman has proved himself to be one of the league's best pass defenders this year. Through eight games, opposing teams’ number-one receivers have just a single touchdown, and only two have eclipsed 70 yards receiving. In the past four weeks, opposing number-ones have just 39 receiving yards per game against Sherman and the Hawks. Vincent Jackson, the Bucs’ biggest offensive weapon, will have to create separation to continue his pace of targets, receptions and yardage. Across the field, WR Tiquan Underwood will need to be more of a threat with Mike Williams out for the year. Underwood has an equally difficult task against 6-4 CB Brandon Browner.

Seattle WR Golden Tate vs. Tampa Bay CB Darrelle Revis
The Seahawks got bad news earlier this week, losing WR Sidney Rice for the season; in addition, they will continue to play without dangerous offseason acquisition WR Percy Harvin. Golden Tate has stepped up in the last two weeks as Wilson’s preferred target with nine receptions, 170 yards and two scores. Second receiver Doug Baldwin has just two catches for 28 yards over that time frame. With news of potentially more man coverage from Revis, there should be a lot of eyes following this pairing throughout the game.

Buccaneers TE Tim Wright vs. Seahawks TE Zach Miller
While this is not a head-to-head matchup, these two could end up being important if the aforementioned matchups go the defenses' way. If Wilson and Bucs’ QB Mike Glennon find it difficult to get the ball to their wideouts, they may turn more attention to the tight end position. For the Bucs, only Vincent Jackson has been targeted more than Wright since the bye week. Wright has 20 targets, 14 catches, one score and 51.3 yards per game in that time span. For the Seahawks, Miller has proven to be a solid red zone target with three of his 15 catches going for scores. Outside of that, however, he has not been much of a factor in the passing game, with just 130 yards on the year.

Buccaneers Offense Communication vs. Seahawks 12th Man
With the long week to prepare for their trip to the northwest, the Buccaneers have been practicing with especially loud crowd noise being pumped through the speakers. This, of course, is to emulate the conditions at CenturyLink Field, which set the crowd noise record (since broken by Kansas City) earlier this year. In his rookie season, QB Mike Glennon has shown poise, completing 108 of his 181 pass attempts, both NFL records for a quarterback over his first four games. With just three interceptions among those passes, he has the sixth-lowest interception percentage among NFL quarterbacks. If Glennon can tune out the noise and continue to hit his receivers with limited mistakes, the Buccaneers offense could surprise this week.