Both the Buccaneers and Broncos came into week 2 at a bit of a crossroads. Both had postseason hype leading up to the 2020 season only to lose their first week in disappointing fashion. The big questions about both centered on the offense in particular and their quarterback specifically.
They enter week 3 set to head off on what looks like divergent paths. The Broncos lost and suffered a slew of big injuries. Tom Brady’s Buccaneers are back on their path to the playoffs after beating a division rival. In fact, Football Outsiders’ Playoff Odds report gives them a 56.2% chance at the postseason.
If the Broncos can rally from the 0-2 start to make the postseason, they’d be just the 13th team since 2007 to do so. It has to start this weekend. They have to upset the Bucs. To get perspective into the enemy, I reached out to Bucs’ Brawl’s Jeff Olson to get his insight.
1st and 10
What have you thought of the ‘Tompa’ Bay Bucs so far? I know you believed in Jameis Winston.
Olson: The Tom Brady experience has been about as expected so far. He processes things well and typically finds the open man. I’d definitely say the offense looks like it’s going to be more efficient, but less explosive with a guy like Brady who is happy to dink and dunk down the field. The lack of mobility is expected, but still frustrating after watching Winston for the last five years who is so good at extending plays and making things happen when he needs to as a runner.
2nd and 7
It definitely looks to me like the offense is a work in progress. Are there any parts you’re nervous about heading into this matchup?
Olson: The thing that worries me with the offense is turnovers. Brady has thrown two ugly interceptions, one being returned for a touchdown. He also had a third interception, but that was due to a wide receiver running a wrong route. I think these will be ongoing problems through the first half of the season as Brady continues to learn his physical limitations as a 43-year-old quarterback and as he builds chemistry with his new teammates.
It felt like the Bucs had 6 or 7 of those yesterday. The WR's as a whole were not great. Bucs won this game with forcing turnovers and winning up front. https://t.co/U1TkaYazPm— J.T. Olson (@IcewaterOlson) September 21, 2020
3rd and 3
There’s little doubt the Bucs defense is looking good. How can the Broncos move the ball on them with Jeff Driskel playing?
Olson: The Bucs defense is the strength of their team. The run defense continues to be dominant like they were last season, so I wouldn’t expect Denver to have consistent success in that area.
I honestly, don’t anticipate Jeff Driskel being particularly effective overall, but I think if there’s one thing this the Broncos can find success with in the passing game it will be if they can get Carlton Davis matched up against a true speed threat. We saw him struggle with Robby Anderson last week and he has struggles with burners in the past. Combine that with a steady dose of Noah Fant and I think Driskel and company can move the ball to a degree.
4th and inches
Any other match-ups you’re zeroed in on?
Olson: The match ups that I’ll be watching is the Broncos defensive line vs the Bucs offensive line. Bradley Chubb going against Donovan Smith could be a big mismatch in Denver’s favor. Jurrell Casey against Alex Cappa is another battle that should be interesting and could cause the Bucs problems. If the Broncos can win those match-ups, then this game will probably be closer than many expect.
What’s your prediction for the game?
Olsen: Bucs 27, Broncos 13