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Tampa Bay vs. Cleveland Preview Article


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Buccaneers vs. Browns NFL Week 12 Betting Preview: Browns Outrun Bucs En Route to Covering the Spread

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cleveland Browns
Sunday, November 27, 2022 at 1 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland

Tampa Bay's Regressed Run Defense

In 2020, Tampa Bay boasted the NFL's top run defense.

Last year, the Bucs ranked third in run defense. They were no longer the best, but they remained solid.

This year, however, the Bucs are mediocre in this respect. They rank 15thin rush defense.

Tampa Bay has done a good job against backup-filled rush attacks like Seattle's beleaguered unit, and the Bucs were great against the Rams' second-to-last-ranked rush attack.

Stronger rush attacks, though, have posed grievous threats to the Bucs' defense.

What Happened?

Repeatedly, in Buc games one sees guys who are out of position, who cannot disengage from opposing blockers, instances of miscommunication among defenders, and missed tackles.

Part of the issue is injury-related but only a small part.

Linebacker Shaq Barrett was a highly-graded run defender, but he is in crutches with an Achilles injury that sent him onto injured reserve.

Fellow linebacker KJ Britt, whose strength was run-stopping, is also out indefinitely.

Personnel-wise, the Bucs arguably miss monstrous run-stuffing nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is now an Eagle.

A significant reason for Tampa Bay's regressed run defense is the playing quality of individual players who had previously contributed to Tampa Bay's positive run defense statistics in earlier seasons.

In particular, nose tackle Vita Vea has been subject to much criticism from Buc fans for his regressed play, his increased vulnerability to getting manhandled on the line of scrimmage.

Linebacker Devin White's struggles are less surprising based on prior seasons' criticism of him.

He is a major part of Tampa Bay's tendency to miss tackles, according to PFF's record of his missed tackle rate. He continues to suffer as a run defender.

Tampa Bay vs. Good Rush Attacks

The Buccaneers have faced two teams that rank top-five in rushing.

Those teams are Atlanta and Baltimore, both of which thrived.

On the strength of 151 rushing yards and 4.9 YPC, the Falcons covered the spread in their game against a then-healthier Tampa Bay defense.

Baltimore beat Tampa Bay 27-22 while the Ravens amassed 231 rushing yards on 33 YPC.

Raven running backs Gus Edwards and Kenyan Drake combined for 127 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Evidently, strong rush attacks thrive against Tampa Bay.

Cleveland Rush Attack

I like Cleveland's offense to do well on Sunday because the Browns enjoy one of the NFL's most productive rush attacks.

Their rush offense ranks fifth.

They are led in this respect by running back Nick Chubb, who averages 5.3 YPC as he approaches 1,000 yards rushing on the season.

In terms of rushing yards, he ranks fifth in the league.

He also has a nose for the end zone, accruing 11 touchdowns on the ground so far.

Nick Chubb is so good because he has so many tools: he has great vision, quick feet, strong physicality, and other positive qualities.

Chubb will be too much for the Buc defense to handle.

Cleveland's Wins

Similar to Tampa Bay, Cleveland's run defense forms a significant part of its wins.

When the Browns stop opposing running backs, they tend to win.

They have three wins on the season.

First, they beat Carolina while limiting then-Panther running back Christian McCaffrey to 33 rushing yards.

Then, they defeated Pittsburgh. Steeler running back Najee Harris mustered 56 rushing yards on 3.7 YPC.

In their victory over Cincinnati, the Browns held Bengal running back Joe Mixon to 27 rushing yards.

Tampa Bay's Rush Attack

I dislike the Buc offense because it ranks dead-last in rushing, averaging 70.7 rushing yards per game.

Leonard Fournette, who is anyhow banged-up and listed as 'questionable' for Sunday's game, is averaging 3.4 YPC.

Atop the depth chart, he may be replaced by Rachaad White, who averages all of 3.7 YPC.

Cleveland struggles to limit opposing scoring when opposing running backs thrive -- Miami's new running back Jeff Wilson and Charger Austin Ekeler are examples.

But Tampa Bay lacks the running back quality to take advantage Cleveland's potential area of vulnerability.

The Verdict

Led by sack artist Myles Garrett and Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward, Cleveland's pass defense is regularly well-equipped to limit opposing pass attacks -- Buffalo's Josh Allen, for example, suffered his lowest passing yardage total of the season last week against the Browns.

It will come down to Cleveland's run defense, and the Bucs lack the personnel to pose a threat on the ground.

Conversely, led by Chubb, the Browns will do what they want on offense.

Best Bet: Browns +3 at -108 with Heritage


Well-Known Member
the ravens ran all through the bucs it was shocking........the next game they stopped seattles run game tho, and added hicks from bears could of been a factor, not sure what to make of it