Three teams will travel to Florida in the NFL as the Buccaneers, Jaguars and Dolphins all play at home this week.
Jacksonville and Tampa continue to compete for the first pick in the 2014 draft, while Miami looks to get a win and get back into playoff contention amid the media frenzy inspired by Jonathan Martin’s departure from the team.
The Buccaneers hope to fire the cannons when they host the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC South matchup. Atlanta has been struck by multiple injuries on offense, something the Bucs know about all too well.
“We technically had three running backs go down this week,” Tampa head coach Greg Schiano said. “To have the two remaining do such a good job, that’s probably where we’ll have to go; ham-and-egging it with those two guys and see what we can do.”
Despite the unimpressive records of the teams, the game should be fiercely competitive. Since 2008, all but two games between the teams have ended with a margin of eight points or less. The series is tied at 20 wins each side.
At the same time on Florida’s other coast, the Arizona Cardinals will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville is coming off its first win of the season, a 29-27 victory against the Tennessee Titans. Jags wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said that the team expected to win at some point.
“We played very good in certain games,” Shorts said, “but we couldn’t finish. We couldn’t score in the redzone or we made critical errors here and there, so it felt good to get that hump off of our back and get that first win.”
Arizona has a losing record this season when traveling east of Texas. The Cardinals lost to the St. Louis Rams and the New Orleans Saints while barely defeating the Buccaneers. Their other road game was a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, leaving the Cardinals at 1-3 away from Arizona.
Miami faces the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium at 4:05 p.m. Both teams are 4-5 and still easily in contention for a playoff spot. The Dolphins trail the 5-4 Jets for the final wild card. The Chargers are three places behind the Dolphins, losing tiebreakers to Miami, Cleveland and Baltimore.
The Dolphins are still dealing with the fallout from the situation involving Martin and Richie Incognito. After a loss to the previously 0-8 Bucs, the team looks to bounce back.
“Obviously we need leadership through this tough time,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “Do I need to go do something drastic that’s not myself? No. But do I need to step up, be consistent, be a leader and help to get this team on the right track? Yes.”
Head coach Joe Philbin is trying to get the team to focus on football. He said that the team can be good at times, but needs to put together a complete game.
“We want to play a sound football game against the San Diego Chargers,” Philbin said. “We’ve demonstrated it throughout the course of the season at times, not consistently enough. We’ve got to put together a consistent performance for 60 minutes.”
San Diego 2-2 east of Texas. The team defeated Philadelphia and Jacksonville, but lost to Washington in overtime and Tennessee.
To hear what players and coaches are saying about the games, click the links below.
Greg Schiano – Buccaneers Head Coach: “That’s probably where we’ll have to go: ham-and-egging it with those two guys . . .”
Cecil Shorts III – Jaguars Wide Receiver: “It felt good to get that hump off of our back.”
Ryan Tannehill – Dolphins Quarterback: “Obviously we need leadership through this tough time.”
Joe Philbin – Dolphins Head Coach: “We want to be a sound football team, a smart team and a tough team.”