The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Raymond James Stadium for Week 3 of Monday Night Football.
The Buccaneers enter the game with a 2-0 record and one of the best offenses in the league. The Steelers, however, look for their first win of the season. The team has struggled to start the season after tying with the Cleveland Browns and losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the first two weeks of the season.
Due to the defense being a weak point for both teams, the game is expected to become a high-scoring shootout with lots of explosive plays.
Tampa Bay Hopes to Continue Pass Attack
Tampa Bay enters the nationally televised game with the No. 1 pass attack in the league after two games. Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, filling in for the suspended Jameis Winston, has thrown for 819 yards on a 78.7% completion rate.
The Bucs should excel against a struggling Pittsburgh secondary that has allowed 261.5 yards per game in the first two weeks.
One thing that the Bucs will look to improve, however, is their running game.
With the departure of six-year running back Doug Martin in the offseason, the ground game has not impressed so far. Third-year running back Peyton Barber has started both of the games in 2018 but has just 91 yards on the season. Fitzpatrick is the next highest rusher with 35 yards, with running back Jacquizz Rodgers with only 14.
This will be an area of improvement for Tampa Bay against a tough Pittsburgh team that will try and take advantage of its young secondary that has given up an average of 386.5 passing yards in each of its first two games.
Steelers Look for Breakout
Pittsburgh is in a similar boat as Tampa Bay with the defense as the weak link.
That defense ranks 24th in the league in total yards allowed per game. The front seven has struggled to stop the run, ranking dead last in the league after allowing an average of 152 yards in the first two games.
The Steelers expect to improve on that, though, against a Buccaneers rushing attack that has also struggled this year.
On the surface, Steelers have played offensively. That offense ranks second in the league in total yards per game behind only Tampa Bay.
However, locker room issues and contract holdouts have led to more obstacles than originally expected. Veteran wide receiver Antonio Brown has expressed his frustration in his team not getting it done when it counts.
The team also does not have another star on the field.
Sixth-year running back Le’Veon Bell has been out with a contract dispute. While the run game seems to have done well with second-year back James Connor filling in, the team is missing Bell’s ability on third downs for both receiving and in pass protection.
Through three weeks, the injuries have already begun to pile up. The Steelers have seven players on the injury report while the Buccaneers have ten.
There is positive news for Tampa Bay, though. Veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, who has missed the first two games with a groin injury, is expected to make his 2018 debut on Monday.
The Steelers, however, did not look as favorable with four offensive linemen on the report. Tackle Marcus Gilbert missed practice the entire week and is expected to be out for the primetime game.