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Both teams are coming into this game with issues at the quarterback position as quarterbacks for both teams failed to prove themselves during the preseason.
For the New York Jets, their starting quarterback against Tampa Bay, Geno Smith, played in two games with one start and completed 22 passes on 37 attempts while throwing for 246 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Fellow quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t fare much better completing 25 passes on 42 attempts for 366 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sanchez most likely would have been named the starter for the regular season however a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of the Jets week three preseason match-up against the Giants all but sealed the deal for Smith to be the starter at least for week one.
For the Tampa Buccaneers Josh Freeman will be the starter in week one but figures it will be interesting to see how he plays in week one as he saw limited action in the preseason. Freeman completed 12 passes on 26 attempts while throwing for 101 yards, lost a fumble, and while he threw no interceptions he also threw no touchdowns.
Back-up quarterback Mike Glennon saw more action during the preseason finishing completing 33 passes on 70 attempts for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions.
If Smith and Freeman struggle in the passing game expect both teams to rely heavily on their running games which should feature Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory for the Jets and Doug Martin for the Buccaneers.
In addition to their quarterbacks both teams need to continue to work on their offensive lines. Although it was only pre-season the Jets offensive line allowed 14 sacks, with the Jets backs gaining only 382 yards with the single longest run being for 37 yards.
For Tampa Bay their offensive line allowed 13 sacks, with their backs gaining a total of 411 yards with the longest single run being for 17 yards. Expectations are high for the offensive line heading into the regular season as the team looks to return the lineup Carl Nicks, who played in only seven games last season, and Davin Joseph who made the Pro Bowl in 2011, but missed the entire 2012 season.
Revis and the Tampa Bay Defense
After having the worst passing defense in the league last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis in the off-season.
The player making the headlines in the off-season and preseason was Revis. First because of the question of how well he will play coming off his injury and because of the fact he didn’t play in the preseason and secondly because he said he is willing to share his wealth of knowledge about the Jets with his new team.
Revis says he is willing to “spill the beans” to Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator on some of the ways the Jets ran their defense and on some of the things that Jets head coach Rex Ryan might try to do in this weekend’s match-up. Revis is also coaching some of Tampa Bay’s defensive players on the best ways to play against certain Jets offensive players.
We will have to wait and see if this information from Revis truly gives the Buccaneers an advantage over the Jets this Sunday.
As for the run defense they will try to match what they did a season ago when they gave up the fewest rushing yards in the league. In the pre-season the team finished 15th in rushing yards allowed and will have many talented players on the field to start the season including Da’Quan Bowers, Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn and Lavonte David to name a few.
Last season the Jets had the opposite problem of the Buccaneers as they were able to stop the pass well but were unable to be effective against the run. Although it was only preseason, the Jets ranked 19th in rushing yards allowed and 22nd in passing yards allowed.
The problem with New York’s defense is that except from a couple players, the Jets defensive starters are either young and inexperienced players or players that have not lived up to their potential. Don’t expect the Jets defense to be spectacular or keep up with the better offenses in the league.
While both teams will have issues to work on and correct throughout the regular season the Buccaneers look to be the better of the two teams heading into this weekend’s match-up. What the Buccaneers lack in talent they make up for with discipline and great head coaching, something that isn’t completely true for the New York Jets.
Both teams will be trying to fight their way up from the bottom of tough divisions, but Tampa Bay will be working with a win heading into week two.