The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9) will take on the Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1) on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Here are several matchups between individual players and/or certain team units that could go a long way towards determining the game's final outcome:
WR Mike Evans vs. CB Terence Newman
The Bengals have allowed the seventh-fewest receptions of 20 yards this season, and Newman is holding receivers to just 8.7 yards per catch, fifth fewest in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, Evans has 24 grabs for 505 yards in November, an average of 21 yards per catch, with seven receptions of 25 or more yards. Something's got to give in this matchup.
Bucs' Special Teams vs. KR/PR Adam Jones
Pro Football Focus ranks Jones as the third-best returner in both the punt and kickoff categories. His 31.7 yards per KO return lead all KRs with 15 take-backs. He is also a fearless PR, with 95 straight punt returns without a fair catch dating back to 2006. The Bucs have been solid in coverage this year, ranking 12th and 14th in punt and KO yards per return, but must be at the top of their game to limit Jones.
LB Mason Foster vs. RB Jeremy Hill
In relief of starting RB Giovani Bernard, Hill rushed for 120 ypg. and two scores in Weeks 9-11. Bernard is back in the lineup and the two split carries last weekend, but Hill still leads the team with 4.9 yards per rush. With Lavonte David missing last week, Foster led the team with eight tackles and will need to continue roaming the field to keep the Bengals RBs from breaking one loose.
DT Gerald McCoy, who leads the Bucs' with 7.5 sacks in 2014, will try to get past C Russell Bodine to create pressure up the middle
CBs Johnthan Banks & Alterraun Verner vs. WRs A.J. Green & Mohamed Sanu
The Bucs secondary has risen to the occasion over the past two weeks, allowing an average of just 139.5 net passing yards per game against Washington and Chicago. A week after holding Bears WRs Marshall & Jeffery to just 62 yards, Banks & Verner go up against two more dynamic WRs who have nine combined TDs and average 15 yards per catch.
QB Josh McCown vs. DE Carlos Dunlap
Dunlap leads his team with 5.5 sacks this season and will try to pressure McCown in order to make him uncomfortable and force turnovers. In the Bucs' win vs. Washington, the offensive line allowed just eight pressures and McCown ended the day with two TDs, no INTs and a 137.5 passer rating. If the offense can limit pressure, McCown could have another big day.
DT Gerald McCoy vs. C Russell Bodine
The Cincinnati O-Line has allowed just 13 sacks, second- fewest in the NFL, while Gerald McCoy is looking for a sack in his third-straight game. Seven of the sacks vs. the Bengals have come from defensive tackles, showing that McCoy (ranked second among DTs with 7.5 sacks) can apply pressure up the middle to add to his total.