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5 Questions with Bucs Nation: What we learned about the Buccaneers

Gain intel on the enemy as the Jaguars prepare to face the Buccaneers in Week 16.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16, we sat down with Evan Wanish of Bucs Nation to learn more about the opposing side.

Question 1: Has Baker Mayfield played well enough to have a shot at starting again next season, or do Bucs fans have their hearts set on a new quarterback?

I think that depends on who you talk to but his performance last week was arguably the best of his career. There are many that still want to see him back in Tampa Bay in 2024, but there are also those that think drafting a new QB and finally finding the franchise signal caller is what’s best for the team. Mayfield has certainly played well enough to earn another shot as a starter whether it is in Tampa or elsewhere.

Q2: Similar question for Todd Bowles. The next few weeks can change things, but as of now, has Bowles earned another year in the building?

The Todd Bowles discussion is a little more complicated. On one hand the ones, especially ones like the Packers certainly help, but the Bucs have looked sluggish a lot of the time this year. I think it may come down to how the team finishes the season. If they win the South and play a competitive playoff game, I think he sticks around for 2024. If they implode and miss the playoffs entirely or even make the playoffs but get blown out again, then I think there’s a real chance he could be fired. Time will tell, but his job security is looking a lot better now than it did at this time a month ago.

Q3: What’s the easiest way to win and lose against the Bucs offense?

The easiest way to win is by forcing them into 3rd and long situations. The Bucs offense has been pretty good on 3rd down this season but a lot of that is in part to having a lot of 3rd and shorts. Being able to keep Tampa off schedule and force Baker Mayfield to make the throws is how to have success.

I’d say the biggest way to fail against Tampa is to let the run game get going. Rachaad White and Tampa’s run game as a whole has been much improved as of late but earlier in the season it struggled mightily and was a big reason the team struggled. If the Bucs are able to run the ball and then have the ability to work play action, it could be a long day for the Jacksonville defense.

Q4: What’s the easiest way to win and lose against the Bucs defense?

I have said this a bunch of times throughout the season and I haven’t been wrong thus far and that’s the way to beat this Bucs defense is going up tempo and having quick passes. Tampa’s pass rush has struggled this year, but there will always be holes in Todd Bowles’ heavy zone scheme that an offense can exploit and move the ball down the field.

As for what not to do, I would avoid running the ball on 2nd and long situations. Work your pass game on 1st and 2 down to try and get to 3rd and short and that’s where you can pound the rock for the 1st down.

Q5: The Bucs are 1-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Which side of the spread do you like, and do any player/game props stand out?

The line has moved a bit and for the longest time I figured Jacksonville would win this game but we are talking about two teams with two totally different momentum’s right now. If Trevor Lawrence were 100% playing in this game, I would pick the Jags but since his status is in doubt, give me the Bucs continuing to heat up at the right time and covering the spread. As for a prop, I like Rachaad White over 3.5 total receptions at +105 as the Bucs continue to get him heavily involved in the passing game.

Thanks again to Evan for taking the time to answer our questions!

What are your thoughts on this week’s matchup, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!