Buccaneers Enter Sunday With League’s 4th-Ranked Defense

Buccaneers Enter Sunday With League’s 4th-Ranked Defense

by September 21, 2019 0 comments

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter Sunday’s game against the New York Giants with the fourth overall defense in the National Football League based on Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Replacement (DVOA) efficiency metric.

The Buccaneers’ -27.2% rating equates to the previously maligned unit performing 27.2% above league average defensively on a play-by-play basis. The Vita Vea-led unit has been especially stingy against the run, ranking first overall at -56.1%.

The Carolina Panthers were second overall in team rushing DVOA in 2018 and racked up 127 yards against the currently fifth-ranked Los Angeles Rams defense just four days prior to being held to a paltry 39 yards rushing by Tampa Bay.

Similarly, the San Francisco 49ers ran up a whopping 259 rushing yards against the Cincinnati Bengals, but only managed 98 yards on the ground against the Buccaneers.

While the sample size is incredibly small, the turnaround Tampa Bay has seen under new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles thus far has been miraculous. The Buccaneers defense finished dead-last in defensive DVOA in both of the previous two seasons under former head coach Dirk Koetter’s staff.

Coach Bowles’ unit will once again have to be on their A-game as the Giants are bringing budding superstar running back Saquon Barkley and the leagues fifth-ranked running game to town.

Barkley is second in the league in rushing as well as second in rushing DVOA. His 7.8 mark in yards-per-rush is tops in the NFL for all running backs with more than 15 carries.

Final Injury Report for Sunday

Rookie first-rounder Devin White (knee) has not practiced all week and has officially been ruled for Sunday’s game against the Giants. He is joined by Devante Bond (hamstring), Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder), and Jamel Dean (ankle) on the list of non-participants.

The Giants will be without wide receiver Cody Latimer and have designated fellow wideout Bennie Fowler (hamstring) as a game-time decision.

The game will be another late-afternoon affair with kickoff scheduled for 4:05 p.m. EST.

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