Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3 Keys to Defeating the Washington Redskins

A few things the Buccaneers need to do to pick up a victory in Week 7.

1. Win the game on the ground.
The Redskins are significantly better at defending the pass than they are the run; Washington allows an average of 222.5 passing yards per game, the eight-fewest in the league, but 118.2 rushing yards per game, 23rd among NFL teams. Those numbers match up well with the Buccaneers, who are a top-10 rushing team, averaging 122.4 yards per game. Doug Martin enters the game having picked up 100 yards in each of his past two contests. He currently has 405 yards, just 102 behind the league-leader despite already having a bye week. The Bucs may get a boost on the offensive line, too, with center Evan Smith returning to practice this week following an ankle injury.

2. Get the ball in Bobby Rainey's hands.
Through six games, the Redskins are averaging 34.1 net yards per punt attempt, the third-worst in the league. Returning those punts for the Buccaneers will be Rainey, the reigning NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. In Week 5, Rainey averaged more than 28 yards per return attempt, including a 58-yarder. The Redskins have given up 167 punt return yards, the ninth-most in the league, in addition to a touchdown.

3. Make careful throws.  
Through six games, the Redskins have intercepted their opponent just three times. Only three teams in the league have fewer interceptions so far. The Buccaneers have been picked off seven times this season, tied for the seventh-most in the league. But when the Bucs have protected the football, success has followed. In each of Tampa Bay's two victories, Jameis Winston has been turnover-free. Winston earned a passer rating of 122.5 against Jacksonville in Week 5, the best of his career. He credited his success to making simple throws and simple decisions. Explosive plays will be important for the Bucs' offense, but protecting the football has proven to be a recipe for victory.

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