The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) will shoot for consecutive victories on Sunday when they face the Washington Redskins (2-4) at FedExField. Here are a few individual matchups that could play a key role in determining the outcome of this showdown between intra-state rivals:
S Chris Conte vs. QB Kirk Cousins
Chris Conte is the Bucs' top non-LB tackler with 28 stops on the season, 24 of them solo. He has also added one interceptions and two forced fumbles through five games. He'll look to add to that turnover count against Kirk Cousins, who has thrown the fourth-most interceptions (8) this season and has lost two fumbles.
CB Mike Jenkins vs. WR Pierre Garcon
WR DeSean Jackson did not practice Thursday and, as of now, is a question mark for Sunday's game. This will once again thrust Garcon into the number-one WR spot against a Bucs team that allowed 188 receiving yards and three touchdowns to the Jaguars' top two receivers in Week Five. Mike Jenkins could see a lot of Garcon and will need to limit his yards after catch to reduce Garcon's big-play potential.
LB Lavonte David vs. Washington RB Duo
Again this year, Lavonte David leads the team in tackles. He'll need to add to his total of 44 by being all over the field tracking RBs Alfred Morris and Matt Jones. Morris leads the Redskins with 297 yards, while Jones has 220 yards and three TDs (Jones, too, is an injury question mark for Sunday's game). Through the first five games of the year, no team had more rushing yards than Washington.
RB Doug Martin vs. S Dashon Goldson
Martin will try to pick up right where he left off before the bye. In his last two games he has 229 rushing yards, four total TDs and an average of more than five yards per carry. After starting the year as one of the top run-stopping forces in the league, Washington has allowed 346 rushing yards in the last two weeks. With 42 tackles, Goldson leads the Redskins and could add to his total if the Bucs' run game keeps getting to the second level.
WR Mike Evans vs. CB Bashaud Breeland
Pro Football Focus has Breeland as a top-10 cornerback in terms of his coverage score, but they also credit four opponent touchdowns thrown in his direction. All eyes will be on Mike Evans, who is still looking for his 2015 breakout game. Last year, of course, Evans went for 209 yards and two scores when facing Washington on the road. If he wants to replicate those numbers and kick start his season, he'll likely need to go through Breeland to do it.
G Ali Marpet vs. DE Chris Baker
Baker shares the team lead in sacks (3.5) and has 20 tackles and two forced fumbles. It will be up to the right side of the Bucs' offensive line, namely Marpet, to keep that number in check. The Bucs' rookie posted his best game of the season (per Pro Football Focus) his last time out against Jacksonville. He'll need to continue to improve to help keep QB Jameis Winston upright and looking downfield for his big receivers.