Looking at the Buccaneers Offense
QB: Josh Freeman
RB: Doug Martin
FB: Eric Lorig
WR's: Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams
TE: Dallas Clark
Buccaneers Offensive Rankings:
Total Offense: 12th
Pass Offense: 13th
Rush Offense: 11th
Broncos Offensive Rankings:
Total Offense: 4th
Pass Offense: 5th
Rush Offense: 20th
Josh Freeman is having a breakout year, a career year even. On the year Freeman has 2761 yards passing, 21 TD's and 7 Ints. Freeman is completing 57% of his passes, and has a QB rating of 94.3. Pretty good numbers if you ask me. The Broncos will have their handful with Freeman. The Bucs have a solid running game and some big play weapons at the receiving and tight end positions. The Broncos secondary and pass rush will have to force Freeman into mistakes.
Peyton Manning has continued his MVP pace is recent weeks. On the year Manning has passed for 3,260 yards, 26 TD's and 8 Int's. He's completing a very good 67.7% of his passes and has an impressive QB rating of 104.8. Manning has to be a front runner for MVP with those numbers. Manning will look to pick apart a Tampa Bay secondary that's banged up, and just not very good. If Tampa Bay wants to win, they will have to slow down Peyton Manning.
The Running Backs
Doug Martin, a favorite of mine this past draft season is having a breakout rookie campaign. Martin on the year has 1,050 yards rushing, and averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Martin has 9 rushing touchdowns on the year. Martin has also added 29 catches for 332 yards and 1 TD. Stopping Martin will be key for the Broncos. If the Broncos can limit Martin, and make the Tampa Bay offense one dimensional, they should have success. Martin will be tough to stop though.
Last week was the first week the Broncos were without Willis McGahee. The Broncos decided to have Knowshon Moreno start. Moreno did not disappoint last week. Moreno on the year has only 100 yards rushing on 28 carries in limited action. The Broncos will need Moreno to step up again this weekend and not turn the ball over. Moreno has also helped out in the passing game. Moreno has 5 catches for 38 yards. Look for rookie Ronnie Hillman to see sometime in the backfield in Moreno struggles. Also it will be interesting if the Broncos go with Lance Ball or recently signed Jacob Hester as the 3rd runner. One scenario i could see happening is the Broncos having Gronkowski inactive and having Hester active in his place.
The Receivers/Tight Ends:
Leading the way is Tampa is long time foe Vincent Jackson. On the year Jackson has 47 receptions for 959 yards and 7 TD's. Mike Williams has 37 catches for 625 yards and 5 TD's, and Dallas Clark has 31 catches for 320 yards passing and caught 3 TD's. One thing i have noticed with the Bucs WR's is that they're all averaging 15+ yards per catch. The Bucs seem attack downfield, so the Broncos secondary has to make some plays and limit the damage. Champ Bailey has to step up and slow down long time foe Vincent Jackson. Both have experience against each other, and will be a key matchup to watch this weekend.
Tampa has the 32nd ranked pass defense. Peyton Manning has to be giddy heading into this weekends matchup. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will look to have a big day. On the year Demaryius Thomas has 61 catches for 1,015 yards and 6 TD's, Eric Decker has 54 catches for 685 yards passing and 8 TD's, and Brandon Stokley has 36 catches for 449 yards and 5 TD's. Broncos tight ends Jacob Tamme has 38 catches for 360 yards passing for 2 TD's and Joel Dresseen has 29 catches for 253 yard and 4 TD's.
The Bucs OL is without both starting guards, whom are two of the best in the league in Davin Joesph and Carl Nicks, but still rank as the 4th best OL in the league. The Bucs OL has given up only 16 sacks and 34 QB hits. Behind this OL the Bucs runners have rushed for 1,339 yards rushing, and average of 4.5 yards per carry.
The Broncos OL ranks 5th in the league. The Broncos OL has allowed only 16 sacks and 34 QB hits on QB Peyton Manning. On the year Broncos rushers have ran for 1,148 yards and are averaging 3.9 yards per carry. The Broncos OL needs to continue protect QB Peyton Manning if they want to have success.