Happy Blue Friday, 12s. The Seattle Seahawks are halfway through the season and this weekend they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. Despite Tampa’s record, they have an explosive offense with receivers who can make plays downfield. In the air, Tampa averages 296 yards while on the ground they are averaging around 100 yards per game. Lastly, the Bucs are average a 5th best 28 points per game while Seattle is averaging an 11th ranked 26.
Tampa has the best run defense in the league allowing an average of 68.6 yards per game while allowing only six rushing touchdowns this season. The Bucs have faced several dynamic running backs this season.
Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey has twice faced the Bucs’ defense, carrying the ball 38 times, for 68 yards and a touchdown. New Orleans leads the way with 112 rushing yards with zero touchdowns. Alvin Kamara carried the ball 16 times for 62 yards. Other notable running backs include Saquon Barkley (8 carries, 10 yards), Todd Gurley (5 carries, 16 yards and 2 touchdowns), and Derrick Henry (16 carries for 75 yards).
However, Tampa’s pass defense is another story. They are second to last in the league, relinquishing 285 yards per game and 14 touchdowns on the season.
Meanwhile, Seattle’s offense averages 130 yards per game on the ground with eight touchdowns and averages nearly 266 yards receiving, tallying 17 touchdowns. Defensively, they give up an average of 103.1 yards per game on the ground and are in the league’s 7th worst pass defense in the league giving up an average of 283.8 yards per game.
I expect (hope) Seattle and Russell Wilson to take advantage of the poor passing defense of Tampa Bay. I believe that Seattle receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett will have a field day against the Tampa secondary. I also expect that Chris Carson will be limited to under 50 yards on the ground. However, I believe Wilson will have opportunities to escape the pocket for extra rushing yards. Tampa has only tallied 16 sacks on the season so I don’t expect him to be under too much pressure.
The same story goes for Jameis Winston. Seahawks have only sacked opposing quarterbacks 13 times this season. Winston is a mobile quarterback and could use the lack of Seattle pass rushing to his advantage.
Jameis is tied with Baker Mayfield for the most interceptions thrown this season totaling 12. Wilson has only thrown one interception in 250 pass attempts this season. Winston completes 58% of his passes where Wilson completes 68%. Winston has a passer rating of 82.1 and Wilson has a 115.5.
With all of the stats listed, I am having a hard time, from a statistical point of view, figuring out who has the advantage in this game. Seattle is a run-first offense, but Tampa will undoubtedly limit that effort. However, I believe the Seahawks have the edge if they decide to throw early and often. Seattle’s secondary will have to step up to take advantage of any miscues by Winston. I like Seattle’s chances to win as long as they do not play down to their opponent.
Let’s look at injuries as of Thursday:
Limited participants included T Duane Brown and S Lano Hill. Notable full participants include LB K.J. Wright, S Bradley McDougald, S Marquise Blair, DE Ziggy Ansah, CB Neiko Thorpe, DT Al Woods, G Mike Iupati, CB Tre Flowers, and T Jamarco Jones.
For Tampa Bay TE O.J. Howard did not participate in practice on Thursday.
An up to date list of who is in and who is out will be posted to Cascadia Sports Twitter @CascadiaSN when it becomes available.
This will be a great matchup and I hope we can see the MVP candidate come out of Russell Wilson on Sunday.