Buccaneers NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) looks to pass in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Titans Heading South to Face Buccaneers

The Tennessee Titans (3-5) are headed to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers (3-5) this Sunday at 1 p.m.

A New Start

Titans’ Head Coach Mike Vrabel announced that Will Levis will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the year. This starts are new chapter in the Titans franchise as it moves on from Ryan Tannehill. Levis adds a new depth to the offense, as he’s able to push the ball down the field farther and faster than Tannehill now can.

Levis is looking to bounce back after securing his new role. During the Titans’ last game against the Steelers, he threw 22/39 for 262 yards and an interception.

Lack of Turnovers

The Titans defense has struggled to get turnovers to help out the offense. It’s only caused two picks and recovered four fumbles through eight games.

The defense is also trying to replace the hole that was left in it when safety Kevin Byard was traded to the Eagles. Byard has 47 tackles and a fumble recovery in his six games with the Titans before the trade. Elijah Molden has taken his place and has had 12 tackles in the two weeks Byard has been gone.

Bucs’ Post-Bye-Week Struggles

The Bucs started their season strong, going 3-1 before their week-five bye. Their only loss came at the hands of the now 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles. Since the bye week, the Bucs have gone 0-4.

The most recent loss came at the hands of C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans. Stroud threw for 470 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. Baker Mayfield played well and went 21/30, 251 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they fell short and lost 39-37.

Evenly Matched

The Bucs struggle on all sides of the ball, ranking 25th in offensive total yards and 29th in defensive total yards. The Titans aren’t much better, ranking 21st and 23rd, respectively.

This is an interesting matchup because Tennessee’s strength is running the ball, and Tampa Bay’s strength is stopping it. Titans runningback Derrick Henry has rushed for 601 yards this season, including two games where he rushed for over 100 yards.


In the passing game, Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans have been nearly identical. Hopkins has 35 catches for 564 yards and three touchdowns, while Evens has 37 catches for 594 yards and five touchdowns.

Both Mayfield and Levis have the ability to take the top off a defense and push the ball down the field. With both secondaries not playing great, the deep shot is something to look out for.

The Bucs are two games behind the New Orleans Saints for first place in NFC South, which means that their playoff hopes are still alive. The Titans are three games behind the Jacksonville Jaguars for first place in the AFC South, but only two games behind in the wildcard race. This is a big game for both teams and will make getting to the playoffs much harder for the losing team.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

About Michael Tubbs

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