The 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have proved they can take their show on the road, with a 4-3 record that actually ranks 10th in the NFL in winning percentage away from home. That includes a current two-game streak of victories in Atlanta and Jacksonville – easily the Buccaneers' two most complete and convincing wins of the year – that now leads up to a final month spent mostly at home.
Thus, if the 2019 Buccaneers are going to either keep their admittedly slim playoff hopes alive or at least finish Bruce Arians' first season on a significant upward trend, they will need to bring back some kind of home field advantage. Tampa Bay is just 1-4 in home games this season, which technically includes a Week Six loss to Carolina played in London. They have a chance to get that mark back to .500 with three games at Raymond James Stadium in the final four weeks, including this coming Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts are the Bucs' second straight opponent from the AFC South, and like the Jaguars last week, they come into the game on something of a downswing. After a 5-2 start, Indianapolis has lost four of its last five, and last Sunday's 31-17 defeat at the hands of the Tennessee Titans dealt the Colts' playoff hopes a big blow. That is actually the only loss by more than one score all season for Indianapolis, which still has a +6 scoring differential on the season and is not prone to hurting its own cause. The Colts are the least-penalized team in the league and have only turned it over 14 times in 12 games.
The Colts are not a team of glaring weaknesses, apart from a surprising downturn in the kicking game. They're ninth against the run and 12th against the pass on defense and they've been very stingy in the red zone. The Indianapolis offense runs the ball very well behind a powerful offensive line, and has continued to do so even in Marlon Mack's absence, and while the passing attack rarely goes downfield and isn't overly prolific, quarterback Jacoby Brissett has a 93.2 passer rating. The Colts hit the jackpot at the top of the 2018 draft and now have a long-term leader and tone-setter on both sides of the ball in guard Quenton Nelson and linebacker Darius Leonard.
Though the loss to their division rivals hurt, the Colts are still just two behind Houston in the AFC South race and one behind Pittsburgh and Tennessee for the second Wild Card spot in the AFC. The NFC South could decide their fate; after visiting Tampa the Colts go to New Orleans and then play Carolina at home.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are two wins into their attempt to run the table over the final six weeks as they try to finish with a winning record, keep their playoff hopes breathing and, if nothing else, build optimism for the 2020 season. Here's what you need to know to prepare for the Sunday's game as the Bucs return home to take on the Colts:
GAME AND BROADCAST DETAILS
Indianapolis Colts (6-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)
Sunday, December 8, 1:00 p.m. ET
Raymond James Stadium (capacity: 65,618)
Television: CBS (Local WTSP Channel 10)
TV Broadcast Team: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analyst)
Radio: 98Rock (WXTB, 97.9 FM), Flagship Station
Radio Broadcast Team: Gene Deckerhoff (play-by-play), Dave Moore (analyst), T.J. Rives (sideline)
You won't want to miss the game live at Raymond James Stadium! Make sure to get your tickets before it's too late.
ALL-TIME HEAD-TO-HEAD SERIES
The Buccaneers and Colts aren't exactly natural rivals, and in the current scheduling format they are only going to meet once every four years. But the two teams' 13-game shared history – which dates back to when the Colts were still in Baltimore – does have some rather interesting moments, as well as a couple of prominent connections regarding head coaches and the NFL Draft.
First, the nuts and bolts: Indianapolis leads the all-time series, 8-5, though the two teams have played to a 3-3 tie in Tampa. Since the 2002 expansion and division realignment, the Bucs and Colts have met four times with Indianapolis taking three of those decisions. The Colts have the most recent victory in the series, a 25-12 win in Indy in 2015, but the Buccaneers were victorious the last time the series was contested in Tampa. That was a 24-17 decision in Week Four of the 2011 season, a Monday Night Football showcase in which LeGarrette Blount's 35-yard touchdown run, part of a 127-yard outing, provided the winning points with just over three minutes to play. That was the barest minimum of Monday Night Football revenge for another prime time game eight years earlier that ranks among the unhappiest of Buccaneer evenings. More on that below.
As for those connections, Tony Dungy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a head coaching career that was split almost evenly between the Buccaneers and the Colts. Dungy got his first head job in Tampa in 1996 and quickly turned around a team that hadn't been in the playoffs since the early '80s, leading the Bucs to four postseason berths in six seasons. Dungy then took over as the head coach in Indianapolis and led that team to seven straight seasons with double-digit wins and a Super Bowl championship following the 2006 season.
The Buccaneers and Colts also impacted each other's drafts twice in a six-year span with two trades that were very similar in shape and scope though in opposite directions. In 1990, the buccaneers traded a first-round pick in the 1992 draft to Indianapolis for quarterback Chris Chandler, which eventually led to the Colts having the first two picks in that draft. In the end, that didn't work out too well for Indy as the two picks, Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt, failed to live up to those selections. In 1995, it was the other way around, as the Buccaneers sent quarterback Craig Erickson to Indianapolis in exchange for a first-round pick, this one in the 1996 draft. Tampa Bay got better results with that deal, using the pick on Marcus Jones, who developed into a good pass-rushing defensive end for several years.
And the payback for a prior Monday night game? Well, it will take more than one close win to make that even, as the Colts 38-35 victory at Raymond James Stadium in 2003 still ranks among the toughest losses in franchise history. After Ronde Barber returned an interception off Peyton Manning 29 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Bucs seemed to have the game locked down with a 21-point lead and only five minutes remaining. What followed was one of the biggest late-game comebacks in NFL history, which included a 90-yard kickoff return, a successful onside kick and several long connections between Manning and Marvin Harrison. The Colts tied the game at 35 apiece and then won it in overtime on Mike Vanderjagt's 29-yard field goal, but only after Vanderjagt had hit his first try wide right only to get a second chance thanks to an infamous "leaping" penalty thrown against Simeon Rice.
· Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians was the quarterbacks coach in Indianapolis during the first three seasons of Peyton Manning's career (1998-2000). Arians also returned to Indianapolis in 2012 to serve as the offensive coordinator but ended up as the interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was being treated for leukemia. The Colts went 9-3 with Arians at the helm, making the playoffs, and he was named _AP_ NFL Coach of the Year. Arians' second stint in Indy only lasted one year because the Arizona Cardinals came calling with their head job in 2013.
· Clyde Christensen, who returned to Tampa this year as the team's quarterbacks coach, got his start in the NFL ranks with the Buccaneers in 1996. Christensen was on the Tony Dungy's staff for six years, first coaching tight ends and then quarterbacks and finally serving as offensive coordinator in 2001. Most of the years between those two stints Christensen spent in Indianapolis, where he was a coach for 14 seasons, including two years as the offensive coordinator.
· The Bucs' current staff also includes two men who were previously offensive line coaches for the Colts: Offensive Line Coach Joe Gilbert (2012-17, some of those years as the assistant O-line coach) and Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin (2012)
· Indianapolis Linebackers Coach Dave Borgonzi spent four seasons as a defensive quality control coach in Tampa before joining the Colts staff last year. Borgonzi joined Lovie Smith's initial staff in 2014 and then was retained in 2016 when Dirk Koetter replaced Smith.
· Mike Phair, the Colts' defensive line coach, has previously served as both a scout and a coach in the Buccaneers' organization. He held the former job for the Bucs from 2002-04 and then returned in 2014 for one season as an assistant defensive line coach.
· Alan Williams, now the Colts' defensive backs/safeties coach, was a defensive assistant for the Buccaneers in 2001 on Dungy's staff.
· Luke Rhodes is now the Colts' long-snapper, but he first entered the league as an undrafted free agent playing linebacker with the Buccaneers in 2016. He was released at the end of the 2016 preseason.
SENIOR COACHING STAFFS
· Tampa Bay:
· Head Coach Bruce Arians
· Assistant Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator Harold Goodwin
· Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles
· Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich
· Special Teams Coordinator Keith Armstrong
· Head Coach Frank Reich
· Offensive Coordinator Nick Sirianni
· Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus
· Special Teams Coordinator Bubba Ventrone
KEY 2019 ROSTER ADDITIONS
· OLB Sam Acho (FA)
· OLB Shaq Barrett (UFA)
· CB Jamel Dean (3rd-round draft pick)
· S Mike Edwards (3rd-round draft pick)
· K Matt Gay (5th-round draft pick)
· CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (2nd-round draft pick)
· WR Breshad Perriman (UFA)
· P Bradley Pinion (UFA)
· DL Ndamukong Suh (UFA)
· LB Devin White (1st-round draft pick)
· DE Ben Banogu (2nd-round draft pick)
· WR Parris Campbell (2nd-round draft pick)
· DE Justin Houston (FA)
· QB Brian Hoyer (FA)
· K Chase McLaughlin (W-SF)
· LB Bobby Okereke (3rd-round draft pick)
· CB Rock Ya-Sin (2nd-round draft pick)
ADDITIONAL 2019 CHANGES OF NOTE
· In January, Tampa Bay engineered one of the most significant changes a franchise could make in hiring a new head coach. That man is Bruce Arians, who needed just five years to become the winningest coach in Arizona Cardinals history and who has a history of helping quarterbacks excel. Arians assembled an extremely experienced coaching staff around him, almost all of whom he had worked with in the past.
· One of the coaches Arians brought on was Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles, who served under him in the same capacity in Arizona in 2013 and 2014 before becoming the Jets' head coach. Bowles' arrival means the Buccaneers have technically switched to a base 3-4 defense, something the team hadn't identified with since 1990.
· Bowles' defense means certain players were redefined as outside linebackers, inside linebackers and defensive linemen. No matter the position designations, Tampa Bay's defense has assumed a more aggressive approach in terms of blitz frequency and variety and press-man coverage.
· Tampa Bay's offense was prolific in 2018 in terms of yards, especially in the passing attack, and most of its starters return for 2019, so one could have reasonably expected another strong season on that side of the ball. Indeed, the Buccaneers are third in the NFL in scoring through 12 weeks with 28.4 points per game, up from 24.8 in 2018.
· The Buccaneers released CB Vernon Hargreaves on December 12, parting ways with their 2016 first-round pick after three-and-a-half seasons. Tampa Bay's secondary is experiencing a youth movement, with six players from the last two drafts figuring prominently in the mix now.
· When the 29-year-old four-time Pro Bowl quarterback you expected to helm your offense retires 15 days before the regular-season opener, that's definitely going to change your team. Andrew Luck won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award in 2018, along with that fourth Pro Bowl nod, but he spent this year's lead-up to the season dealing with a lingering calf issue. Eventually, he decided he was done with the continuing cycle of injury and rehabilitation and elected to walk away. Though the news stunned the NFL, the Colts felt they were well-prepared for life after Luck due to their acquisition two years prior of quarterback Jacoby Brissett in a trade with New England. And, indeed, Brissett has played well as Luck's successor, sporting a passer rating of 93.2 this year.
· The Colts' offensive line performed extremely well in 2018 – the draft pick of instant all-pro Quenton Nelson didn't hurt – ranking second in the NFL in pass-blocking and fourth in run-blocking according to Pro Football Focus. Nevertheless, Indianapolis and Head Coach Frank Reich moved on from Offensive Line Coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who had spent just that one season on the job. DeGuglielmo had been hired during the brief time that Josh McDaniels had accepted the Colts' head coaching position prior to last season. McDaniels backed out and Reich got the job, retaining DeGuglielmo on his staff. In January, Reich brought in his own guy, Chris Strausser, to handle the O-Line.
· Indianapolis also had to find a new tight ends coach when the man in that position in 2018, Tom Manning, left to become the offensive coordinator at Iowa State. They hired Jason Michael for the job, with Michael most recently coaching the same position in Arizona. Michael and Reich crossed paths when they were both on the Chargers staff for one season earlier in the decade.
Staying Alive – The playoff chances for both the Buccaneers and the Colts aren't great, for opposite reasons. The Buccaneers dug themselves a 2-6 hole by midseason and even if they can extend their current run to seven wins in the last eight weeks will only finish 9-7. It looks likely that it will take 10 wins for a Wild Card spot in the NFC this season. The Colts looked like prime contenders at 5-2 but have lost four of their last five and are now in a five-team AFC jumble with records between 7-5 and 5-7. Indianapolis is also done playing the two teams ahead of it in the AFC South after consecutive losses to Houston and Tennessee. But as long as those playoff odds remain non-zero, both teams will keep chasing the dream. Colts Owner Jim Irsay addressed the team after their most recent loss, with Head Coach Frank Reich relaying that Irsay, "Just challenged us to do everything we can do to end 10-6 and then let's see." That is the Bucs' approach as well, with Head Coach Bruce Arians recently saying, "Again, we are trying to take them one at a time and see if that adds up to being enough." In essence, that makes Sunday's matchup at Raymond James Stadium an elimination game, since both teams believe they have to win out to have any realistic shot at the postseason.
Shaq Attack – After a nine-sack September earned Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett NFC Defensive Player of the Month accolades he found himself drawing much more attention from opposing teams and their blocking schemes. Over the next four games Barret "only" added 1.5 more sacks to his total, though he remained at or near the top of the league's rankings in that category. In the third quarter of the season, Barrett got hot again, with four sacks, 12 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles over a span of four games. The return of Carl Nassib from injury and the rounding into shape of Jason Pierre-Paul, who returned from his own injury at midseason, has deepened the team's pass-rush rotation and made it more difficult for opponents to concentrate solely on Barrett. Now, with one more quarter of the season remaining, Barrett has a chance to break the team's single-season sack record – his 14.5 are now just two behind the 16.5 Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp put up in 2000 – and also become the first Buccaneer ever to lead the league in that category. If Barrett stays hot down the stretch, he could even figure prominently in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year discussion. Three Bucs have won that before – Sapp, Derrick Brooks and Lee Roy Selmon – and all three have busts in Canton.
New Targets – Though Jacoby Brissett, as noted above, has done an admirable job of filling Andrew Luck's shoes and he was instrumental in getting the Colts off to a 5-2 start, he has struggled a bit more in recent weeks. He has passer ratings of 76.4, 76.0 and 74.9 in his last three games, three of his four lowest marks in that category this year, with two touchdowns and three interceptions in that span. It's not hard to figure out why: Brissett's primary targets have been disappearing from the field in alarming numbers. This weekend, the Colts could be without Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Chester Rogers and Eric Ebron, a quintet that has been responsible for 17 touchdowns and more than 2,200 yards from scrimmage. Second-year wideout Zach Pascal has stepped up well but if Hilton and Campbell remain out in Week 14 the rest of the receiving corps will be filled out by the very green group of Marcus Johnson (20 career receptions), Ashton Dulin (one career catch) and Chad Williams (just promoted from the practice squad). At least the running game has survived without Mack thanks to the good work of Jonathan Williams and Jordan Wilkins. Jameis Winston has had no such problems as his array of targets includes two healthy 1,000-yard receivers in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. However, the team has mostly not found steady production from any one third receiver, and emerging rookie Scotty Miller is now dealing with a hamstring injury. The answer may have finally emerged last week as Breshad Perriman led the team in Jacksonville with a career-high 87 yards, including several critical downfield catches on scoring drives.
Special Attention – The single most important play in the Bucs win in Jacksonville that was not turned in by an offensive or defensive player was Bradley Pinion's 63-yard punt from the very back of his own end zone. That flipped the field as the Bucs were holding off a fourth-quarter Jaguars rally and Jacksonville's offense never got close to Tampa Bay territory again. Pinion's gross and net punting averages are not near the top of the league's charts but the team has been very pleased with his directional and situational work, not to mention the booming kickoffs that have essentially eliminated the kickoff return game all season. Meanwhile, rookie kicker Matt Gay made two more field goals in Jacksonville and has his success rate up to 88.5%, with just one miss in his last 17 tries. Gay has also made all four of his tries from 51 yards or further. As it turns out, this could all prove to be a sneaky advantage for the Buccaneers on Sunday if they end up in a close game, which has been the norm in Colts games. Adam Vinatieri is one of the greatest kickers in NFL history but he's having a down year in his 24th season, hitting just 68.0% of his field goals and 78.6% of his extra point tries. Vinatieri is also on this week's injury report and his knee issue is enough of a concern to lead Indianapolis to claim rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin off waivers on Wednesday. Punter Rigoberto Sanchez has averages that roughly match Pinion's but his touchback percentage on kickoffs is 74.6% compared to 89.2 for Pinion. The Colts have had the better return game of the two teams, particularly on punts, though the loss of Chester Rogers to injured reserve could affect that.
Another Familiar Foe for Arians – A month ago, the Buccaneers began their second-half turnaround with a home win over the Arizona Cardinals, which happens to be the team that Arians turned around before arriving in Tampa. Arians was the Cardinals' head coach from 2013-2017 and it only took him those five seasons to be the winningest head coach in the franchise's century-long history. Arians got that job in the desert after he pulled off an equally impressive coaching performance in Indianapolis in 2012. Originally hired to be the Colts' offensive coordinator earlier that year, Arians stepped in as the interim head coach when Chuck Pagano had to take a leave to receive treatment for leukemia. The Colts went 9-3 under Arians' leadership and made the playoffs, and he was named the NFL Coach of the Year, an award he would later win for a second time in Arizona. Arians' memories from his time in Indianapolis – he was also Peyton Manning's first quarterbacks coach from 1998-2000 – are surely fond ones, so one wouldn't classify Sunday's contest as any sort of revenge game. Still, it would be fitting if a key part of the Bucs' turnaround in 2019 proved to be a pair of wins over the Cardinals and Colts.
1. Buccaneers LT Donovan Smith vs. Colts DE Justin Houston
Another week, another premier challenge for Smith, but such is the life of an NFL left tackle. Houston had 78.5 sacks in eight years with the Chiefs, including an incredible 22 in one season, but he was released last March in a salary cap move. The Colts quickly signed him to be their blind side rusher and he leads the team with 8.0 sacks; no other lineman has more than 3.5. Houston primarily rushes around the left end of the opposing line, which means he'll largely be the responsibility of Smith. Houston may longer be at the peak of his powers but he's still tough, competitive and strong and he can convert speed moves into power. With good size and smooth feet, Smith is equipped to handle both types of rushes and will try to provide Jameis Winston with the good protection he's received through most of the last two games. Since being drafted early in the second round in 2015, Smith has been an iron man for Tampa Bay, starting all 76 of the team's games in that span and rarely missing even a single offensive snap. The Buccaneers obviously trust him to keep danger off Winston's back, even when the opposing team has a stud edge rusher.
2. Colts C Ryan Kelly vs. Buccaneers NT Vita Vea
The Colts' interior offensive line is absolutely stacked and it shows in their rushing numbers (139 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry) and in their pass protection (6.14% sacks per pass attempt). In just two years, Quenton Nelson has established himself as the best guard in the NFL, and one might be able to say the same about Kelly at the center position. Selected 18th overall in 2016, Kelly missed 13 games due to injury the previous two years but has played every game this year and has been dominant in the middle. Kelly can block defenders one-on-one, which is something most centers struggle with, and he can take on and hold his ground against good interior pass-rushers. In that regard, he's particularly important to the Colts this week because the Bucs' interior line features Vea and Ndamukong Suh, two interior pass-rushers who can collapse the middle of a line. Vea has recently drawn attention for his work on goal-line offense but the 347-pound strongman has also started to heat up in pass rush. Though he was not credited with a sack in Jacksonville last Sunday he was at the center of some of the chaos that led to teammates getting the quarterback down. Vea-vs.-Kelly may not draw the eyes of the viewer on every play but it is likely to be one of the best one-on-one battles of the afternoon Sunday.
3. Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones vs. Colts LB Darius Leonard
The Colts' interior defense isn't especially big but it is tough to run against nonetheless, and Leonard is one of the main reasons why. As a rookie in 2018, he led the NFL with 111 solo stops and 163 total tackles, and he would probably be atop those lists again this year if he hadn't missed three games due to injury earlier in the season. Most recently he's coming off an 11-tackle game against Tennessee that also included three quarterback hits. Leonard is a playmaking linebacker in the mold of Derrick Brooks, a comparison recently made by Bill Polian, and he's like Lavonte David in his ability to get the football out, with seven forced fumbles in 25 career games. Jones is the Buccaneers' leading rusher and he's show the ability to bounce off tackles at the second level and gain extra yards. The second-year back is having a rebound season in his second year in the league but he most recently ceded most of the playing time in Jacksonville to fellow back Peyton Barber in part due to pass-protection issues. That is another way that Jones and Leonard are likely to do battle, because the Colts' linebacker is an excellent and frequent blitzer. He had seven sacks as a rookie and has five more in nine games this year.
4. Colts TE Jack Doyle vs. Buccaneers LB Devin White
As noted above, Indianapolis has dealt with a rash of injuries to their skill-position players, which is ongoing and recently claimed the team's other productive tight end, Eric Ebron. With all the upheaval, Doyle is actually the Colts' leading pass-catcher with 36 grabs, and he's scored four times. Doyle isn't the fastest or most athletic tight end in the league but like most of the Colts on both sides of the ball he's disciplined and savvy. He knows the nuances of playing the tight end position, he's quick with his cuts and his stops and starts and he is good at creating space for other Colts pass-catchers. Doyle is smart and very much a "security blanket" type of tight end for his quarterbacks. Since he doesn't often go deep, he will frequently be in range of the Bucs' linebackers, especially on crossing routes. Rookie linebacker Devin White will likely have to pick up some of these routes or understand where Doyle is trying to find a hole in a zone. White secured his first career interception last week in Jacksonville and broke up another pass with a diving play. The Buccaneers drafted the former LSU fifth-overall in April in part because he has uncommon speed for his size. That should allow him to keep up with or catch up with Doyle, and then he'll need to show sure tackling to get the Colt tight end to the ground.
DNP: Did not participate in practice
LP: Limited participation in practice
FP: Full participation in practice
NL: Not listed
· G Alex Cappa (elbow) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· CB Jamel Dean (shoulder) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
· T Demar Dotson (not injury related) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· WR Chris Godwin (shin) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· RB T.J. Logan (thumb) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: LP. Game Status: Out.
· WR Scotty Miller (hamstring) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· OLB Anthony Nelson (hamstring) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (not injury related) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· OLB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· T Donovan Smith (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· CB M.J. Stewart (knee) – WEDS: LP; THURS: LP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
· DT Ndamukong Suh (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· QB Jameis Winston (knee) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· TE Mo Alie-Cox (thumb) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· DL Denico Autry (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· WR Parris Campbell (hand) – WEDS: FP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· T Anthony Castonzo (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· S Clayton Geathers (not injury related) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· WR T.Y. Hilton (calf) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· S Malik Hooker (foot) – WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Questionable.
· DE Justin Houston (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· LB Darius Leonard (not injury related) – WEDS: NL; THURS: NL; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Not listed.
· RB Marlon Mack (hand) – WEDS: LP; THURS: FP; FRI: FP. Game Status: Not listed.
· CB Kenny Moore (knee) – WEDS: DNP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· K Adam Vinatieri (knee) – WEDS: LP; THURS: DNP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Out.
· CB Rock Ya-Sin (ankle) – WEDS: NL; THURS: LP; FRI: DNP. Game Status: Questionable.
Partly cloudy, high of 81, low of 63, 10% chance of rain, 68% humidity, winds out of the ESE at 7 mph.
Head referee: Tony Corrente (25 seasons, 22 as referee)
· Favorite: Buccaneers (-3.0)
· Over/Under: 47.0
INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
Points Scored: K Matt Gay, 98
Touchdowns: WR Chris Godwin, 9
Passing Yards: QB Jameis Winston, 3,659
Passer Rating: QB Jameis Winston, 82.7
Rushing Yards: RB Ronald Jones, 482
Receptions: WR Chris Godwin, 74
Receiving Yards: WR Chris Godwin, 1,121
Interceptions: CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, 2
Sacks: OLB Shaq Barrett, 14.5
Tackles: LB Lavonte David, 90
Points Scored: K Adam Vinatieri, 73
Touchdowns: WR T.Y. Hilton, 5
Passing Yards: QB Jacoby Brissett, 2,245
Passer Rating: QB Jacoby Brissett, 93.2
Rushing Yards: RB Marlon Mack, 862
Receptions: TE Jack Doyle, 36
Receiving Yards: WR Zach Pascal, 473
Interceptions: CB Kenny Moore/LB Darius Leonard, 2
Sacks: DE Justin Houston, 8.0
Tackles: LB Darius Leonard, 82
TEAM STAT RANKINGS
Scoring Offense: 4th (28.3 ppg)
Total Offense: 5th (380.4 ypg)
Passing Offense: 4th (284.2 ypg)
Rushing Offense: 22nd (96.3 ypg)
First Downs Per Game: 4th (22.3)
Third-Down Pct.: 15th (39.9%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 22nd (8.57%)
Red Zone TD Pct.: 13th (60.0%)
Scoring Defense: 30th (28.8 ppg)
Total Defense: 17th (358.1 ypg)
Passing Defense: 31st (281.8 ypg)
Rushing Defense: 2nd (76.3 ypg)
First Downs Allowed Per Game: t-24th (21.3)
Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 4th (33.6%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 22nd (6.57%)
Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: 14th (54.4%)
Turnover Margin: 27th (-7)
Scoring Offense: 17th (21.8 ppg)
Total Offense: 19th (343.8 ypg)
Passing Offense: 26th (204.8 ypg)
Rushing Offense: 4th (139.0 ypg)
First Downs Per Game: 5th (22.2)
Third-Down Pct.: 9th (44.2%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt Allowed: 9th (6.14%)
Red Zone TD Pct.: t-8th (63.6%)
Scoring Defense: 15th (21.4 ppg)
Total Defense: 13th (328.7 ypg)
Passing Defense: 12th (226.9 ypg)
Rushing Defense: 9th (101.8 ypg)
First Downs Allowed Per Game: 9th (18.8)
Third-Down Pct. Allowed: 20th (40.1%)
Sacks Per Pass Attempt: 12th (8.02%)
Red Zone TD Pct. Allowed: t-8th (50.0%)
Turnover Margin: t-20th (-3)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
· OLB Shaquil Barrett leads the NFL with 14.5 sacks, which is also the fourth-highest single-season total in Buccaneers history. Barrett could soon be at the top of that list. With one more sack he would move past third place and tie Simeon Rice (15.5 sacks in 2002) for second place. And with two more sacks he would equal the team record of 16.5 set by Warren Sapp in 2000.
· Barrett also leads the NFL with six forced fumbles, and the Buccaneers' single-season record is seven, first set by Wally Chambers in 1979 and later matched by Broderick Thomas in 1991 and Stylez G. White in 2007.
· WR Chris Godwin is tied for the NFL lead with nine touchdown receptions. The Bucs' single-season record is 12, achieved by Mike Evans in both 2014 and 2016. Also within Godwin's sights are the 11 TD catches that Mike Williams had in 2010, a team record at the time that now stands third, and the 10 posted by Joey Galloway in 2005.
· Ndamukong Suh has two fumble-return touchdowns this season, already tying Ronde Barber's 2004 team record. If he manages to get another loose ball into the end zone, Suh would tie the NFL record in that category set by Link Lyman of the Cleveland Bulldogs in 1924.
· Head Coach Bruce Arians on the Colts' offensive line: "This might be the offensive line…we've seen some good offensive lines, but this one – Quenton Nelson, he's kind of the tone-setter for them. [Defensive Coordinator] Todd [Bowles] did a good job of showing the tape that, you don't want to be embarrassed by them, this morning. And [Colts Head Coach] Frank [Reich] does a great job, he's very unique with some of the things he does. So it will be a good challenge for us to maintain the way we've been stopping the run."
· ILB Devin White on facing the Colts' strong running game: "I feel like we've got one of the best front sevens in the National Football League, and that's what we thrive on – stopping people from running the ball and being physical up front. We've just got to do what we always do. We've just got to trust one another and play sound football."
· WR Mike Evans on how the Bucs will try to extend their two-game winning streak: "We've got to just keep doing what we're doing. We're coming in to work every week preparing like there's no tomorrow, and for us there isn't. We've got to win this game. If we keep that approach, keep playing hard and we'll be fine."
· QB Jameis Winston on Breshad Perriman and O.J. Howard being more involved in the offense last week: "It's always good when everyone is getting a chance to stick their hand in the pie. Breshad had an excellent game; O.J., we've been waiting for him to have a big game and his opportunity presented itself. Both of them showed up and showed out, but those are the type of players that they are. The more that we get more people the football and keep balanced – whether it's running the football or throwing the football to different guys – it keeps the defense on its toes and it helps our offense overall."