Buccaneers (4-7) vs. Jaguars (4-7)
All-time record: Jacksonville leads series 4-2
Road record: 0-3
Key Matchups (via Scott Smith):
1. Buccaneers LT Donovan Smith vs. Jaguars DE Calais Campbell
At 6-8 and 300 pounds, Campbell is, obviously, the "big" defensive end in Jacksonville's defense, the one who is primarily going to line up on the strong side of the opposing line while speedy edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue takes the weak side. That means Campbell will get his shots at both of the Bucs' offensive tackles, and he may even line up over the interior linemen from time to time. But a Campbell-Smith matchup will definitely be worth watching when it occurs, especially because Smith will be protecting Jameis Winston's blind side. Both players are powerful but also quick-footed, and both are also extremely durable and determined. Smith has started all 75 games of his career since entering the NFL in 2015; Campbell has played in 181 of a possible 187 games since his first season in 2008. Smith and the Bucs' offensive line are coming off an excellent game in Atlanta in which Winston was not sacked and was only hit once. That sort of protection against a defense ranked fifth in the NFL in sacks per pass play would go a long way towards getting the Buccaneers a second consecutive victory.
2. Jaguars TE Nick O'Leary vs. Buccaneers S Jordan Whitehead
Is it a stretch to include a player who was just signed by the Jaguars 10 days ago among this week's key matchups? Perhaps, but there's a chance that O'Leary makes a difference on Sunday. The Jaguars signed O'Leary, who had been released by the Dolphins a few weeks earlier, because their tight end position appears to have a hex on it this year. O'Leary is the third "street" free agent the Jaguars have signed at the position since the season started because Josh Oliver, James O'Shaughnessy and Geoff Swaim have all ended up on IR and replacement starter Seth DeValve is dealing with an oblique injury. In his first game with the Jaguars last Sunday, O'Leary caught four passes for 36 yards, which represents some of the best production Jacksonville has gotten out of the position this year. And tight ends have occasionally been a problem for the Buccaneers this year, as one was on the second play of the game in Atlanta when little-used first-year player Jaeden Graham got open down the middle for a 53-yard gain. When the Bucs have done well against opposing tight ends, as they did against San Francisco's George Kittle in Week One, Whitehead has often been in the middle of it. Whitehead gives up a good amount of size to most tight ends but is a gamer and a hard-hitter who can handle a physical battle with a bigger opponent.
3. Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin vs. Jaguars CB Tre Herndon
The Jaguars' defense features one of the league's best cover corners in A.J. Bouye, but it no longer has star cornerback Jalen Ramsey on the other side of the field after Ramsey's October trade to the Rams. On paper, at least, the Jaguars would have appeared to be one of the team's best equipped to handle Tampa Bay's incredibly productive wide receiver duo of Godwin and Mike Evans. In Ramsey's absence, Bouye is joined in the starting lineup by Herndon, a second-year player and former undrafted free agent. Herndon has definitely held his own, and he has seven passes defensed and two interceptions in his last five games. Still, if the Jaguars choose to use Bouye to try to limit the production of either Evans or Godwin, which receiver will they consider the top priority? Evans has more commonly drawn double-coverage this year when teams have chosen to focus on just one of them, but Godwin has often made them pay for doing so. The reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week is actually now the Buccaneers' leading receiver, just ahead of Evans, and he's second in the league in receiving yards and first in touchdown catches. No matter who the Jaguars use to try to slow him down, it will be a challenge, and one of the game's most important matchups.
4. Jaguars C Brandon Linder vs. Buccaneers NT Vita Vea
Vea got a lot of national attention this week but it was mostly for his one-yard touchdown grab, which reportedly made him, at 347 pounds, the heaviest player ever to catch a scoring pass. But Vea was equally impactful on defense in Atlanta, recording a sack and two passes defensed on plays where he got penetration and then got his hands up. Vea is so big and powerful that he is difficult to block with a single lineman, but he's also quick-footed for his size, which is a particularly bad problem for a center, who has to get the snap off first before getting in his stance. Fortunately for the Jaguars, they have a very good center in Linder, the 2014 third-round pick out of Miami who has been a starter on Jacksonville's line since his arrival. In fact, Lindor was so good – despite some injury issues – in his first three seasons that the Jaguars gave him a lucrative long-term deal before the start of the 2017 season. Lindor missed another seven games due to injury last year but when he was on the field he was very good, and he was charged with allowing just one sack on 507 defensive snaps played. Linder is big and powerful in his own right, making him a good match for Vea.
The game will kick off at 1 p.m. ET. The broadcast can be found on FOX, locally. It will also be available on a live stream that can be accessed through the Buccaneers Official App and Yahoo Sports. See below for details.
*How to Watch: *
Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, Jennifer Hale
The stream is available through Yahoo Sports, the Buccaneers Official App and online at Buccaneers.com.
*Geographic and device restrictions apply. Local & primetime games only. Data charges may apply.
How to Listen:
*In-market fans can listen through the Bucs Official App
Gene Deckerhoff, Dave Moore, T.J. Rives
98ROCK (97.9 - Tampa)
The Boot (103.9 FM – Brooksville)
ESPN SW Florida (99.3 FM – Ft. Myers/Naples/Punta Gorda)
Citrus (95.3 FM - Homosassa)
WLKF (96.7 FM and 1430 AM – Lakeland)
WYGM (740 AM/ 96.9 FM – Orlando and Melbourne)
WSTU (1450 AM - Port St. Lucie)
ESPN Tallahassee (97.9 FM – Tallahassee)
WTMP-FM 96.1, 101.9 and WMGG-AM 1470 (Tampa)
WIXC – AM 1060 (Melbourne/Orlando)
Sirius/XM Channel 88
On the Bucs Official App*
*Access restricted to Tampa area