The game itself got moved from a Sunday Night Football matchup to 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX but that's good news for Bucs fans across the Bay. The Tampa Bay Rays are in the World Series and the two games were going to conflict. Now they won't and now you have no excuse not to watch your Buccaneers on a Sunday afternoon as they play in Las Vegas' brand new Allegiant Stadium. Below are some guys you should keep a particularly close eye on given how they matchup against the Raiders.
1. ILB Devin White
We broke down White's game against the Green Bay Packers in this week's performance review and the guy was all over. I fully expect that to be the case again, especially with how dynamic the Raiders' offense is. Quarterback Derek Carr is playing some of the best football of his career and he's got playmakers of varying skillsets with him on offense. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles called running back Josh Jacobs one of the best in the league, they have tight end Darren Waller and they have a young receiver corps that includes rookie Henry Ruggs.
Good thing White is a do-it-all defender. Now, I'm not expecting him to match the speed of the wide receivers, but I think he'll be vital in containing guys like Jacobs and Waller. Plus, with Las Vegas' offensive line in question due to COVID-19 protocols, there may be more opportunity for White to get home after he broke the seal on his first sack in last Sunday's game against Aaron Rodgers. The Raiders' o-linemen haven't been at practice all week so they're a little vulnerable right now and White could be one of the ones to capitalize on that.
2. RB Ronald Jones
Well, I haven't been putting Jones in these and it's been working for him. Working to the tune of back-to-back-to-back 100-yard games, making him just the fourth player in franchise history to record three consecutive 100-yard rushing performances. Jones is about to get some help this week, though. Running back Leonard Fournette practiced in a full capacity all week and Head Coach Bruce Arians said he'd be good to go for Sunday and will 'reassume his role.' That role had been to help keep both he and RoJo fresh throughout the game. Though Jones proved he doesn't need the rest in Fournette's absence, it still can't hurt. It may allow for an even more explosive performance from Jones.
There's also the matter of the Raiders and their rush defense. They rank 22nd in the league and are giving up an average of 126.8 yards per game on the ground. That should provide an opportunity for the Bucs' offense to run the football and if they're going with the hot hand, that has to mean feeding red-hot RoJo.
3. WR Chris Godwin & WR Mike Evans
This will be the second-consecutive game both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be out there in relatively good health together. Godwin said last week he feels it's going to take him a couple weeks to feel 100% himself after a prolonged absence due to injury. But he got his feet wet with Evans against the Packers and though neither player had a career game, they are both poised to take advantage of a 25th-ranked passing defense in Las Vegas. The Raiders are allowed 266.8 yards through the air each game, which is more than quarterback Tom Brady needs to put points on the board.
Brady will have both his top receivers as well as all of his running backs available – not to mention tight end Rob Gronkowski who got his first touchdown as a Buccaneer last week. There should be no shortage of opportunities for anyone on offense, most especially these two.
4. S Antoine Winfield Jr.
I wanted a pick for Winfield last Sunday and I wanted it bad. He could have picked off the same quarterback his dad did back in 2009. That would have been some crazy history – and it's one that even Aaron Rodgers himself embraced.
I think by law though, this means Winfield Jr. is about to get his first NFL interception in this coming game. We've talked about opportunities and while Carr has only thrown one interception all season, the Bucs' defense has done it before. Like last week. Winfield Jr. has been close on a number of occasions and was a total ball hawk in college at Minnesota. He had seven interceptions his senior year. And he's now filled in his stat line with every other stat you could want out of a safety (and some that are usually reserved for the front seven, like sacks) so now it's just a matter of actually getting his hands on a ball. It's going to happen sooner or later and I think in Las Vegas in another big game (though not in primetime) would be a perfect time, anyway.
5. ILB Lavonte David
Every. Dang. Week. Listen, as long as David keeps making plays, I'm putting him on this list. He had 1.5 sacks against a quarterback that had only been sacked three times coming into the game last week. He had two tackles for loss and eight combined total tackles last week. And some of the plays were just absolutely outrageous. Please just check this one out – and no, it's not sped up.
Between him and White especially, the Las Vegas offense should have a hard time getting their playmakers going come Sunday.