Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6 Key Matchups: Buccaneers vs. Broncos

Key Matchups: Mike Evans is off to the best start ever for a Buc wideout but he'll be challenged this week by a talented Denver secondary, including Pro Bowl CB Chris Harris, Jr.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) will try to give the defending-champion Denver Broncos (3-0) their first loss of the season on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Here are a few individual matchups that could play a key role in determining the outcome of this Week Two contest:
1. OT Donovan Smith vs. LB Von MillerVon Miller's five sacks lead the league through three games. He'll be a tall task coming off the edge for Donovan Smith, but the Buccaneers have allowed just five sacks as a unit, tied for seventh-fewest in the league. For this offense to get things going, Smith and the O-Line have to keep Winston's pocket and jersey clean.


  1. WR Mike Evans vs. CB Chris Harris Jr. **Mike Evans is off to a hot start with 21 catches, 301 yards and three touchdowns this year, all top-five marks in the NFL. He'll likely see a lot of Chris Harris, who has five interceptions, three forced fumbles and two Pro Bowl trips over the last two seasons. This will certainly be one to keep an eye on.

3. QB Jameis Winston vs. LB Brandon MarshallJameis Winston's eight TD passes are tied for the most in the NFL this season. He'll look to add to that total this week, while also protecting the football against the Broncos, one of the league's top defenses. Brandon Marshall is a playmaker on the Denver defense, with 220 tackles and six takeaways in the last two seasons.

  1. QB Trevor Siemian vs. DT Gerald McCoy **Two of the five sacks allowed by Denver have come from defensive tackles. Gerald McCoy has nine tackles and a sack and is the fifth-highest ranked DT this season according to Pro Football Focus. McCoy and the Bucs' D-Line must get after Siemian to keep him uncomfortable and create turnover opportunities.

5. WR Demaryius Thomas vs. CB Brent GrimesA key for Brent Grimes and the Bucs secondary will be to limit big plays. Demaryius Thomas is one of 10 NFL receivers with two or more receptions of 40+ yards this year. Brent Grimes will have a share of the responsibility in keeping Thomas (or explosive teammate Emmanuel Sanders) from breaking off any big gains in this one.

6. RB C.J. Anderson vs. LB Lavonte DavidLavonte David was back to his normal self against the Rams, flying all over the field and racking up eight tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He'll need to be at his best again to corral C.J. Anderson who is a threat in both the rush and pass game, with 273 total yards and three scores this season.

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