Without their receivers, can Bucs upset Houston?

by Gary Shelton on December 21, 2019

in general

Perriman is the veteran of the Bucs' receivers./© Joe Mestas

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Through the good times, through the bad times, they have had receivers.

The running backs have been invisible, and the offensive line has been creaky. The secondary was a sieve. The quarterback has been wobbly.

But receivers? Yeah, the Tampa Bay Bucs had those.

Until it didn't.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

The Bucs enter their 15th game today with Ned, Fred and Jughead at the wideouts. Mike Evans is on injured reserve. The team is holding out hope that Chris Godwin can return before the season is done. Even Scotty Miller is hurt.

Instead, they have Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson and a bunch of guys who will introduce themselves in the team's huddle.

It's a stark change. Receiver has been the Bucs' best position for a few years now, fast and deep and dangerous. Now, the group walks with a limp.

Look, it isn't as if Houston isn't good enough to win this regardless. The Texans are trying to clinch a playoff spot and their fourth AFC title in five seasons. They're solid, and Deshaun Watson has a long history of winning. But, yeah, the Bucs might have a puncher's chance ... if they had receivers.

I know, I know. Even with subs running patterns, Jameis Winston has thrown for 914 yards in two weeks. The Bucs' defense has played better.

But can Jameis and the jayvees beat the Texans? Not likely.

I mean, how else do the Bucs figure to win? By running the ball? Tampa Bay averaged 1.7 yard per carry last week. It's hard to see them having a huge day on the ground. With turnovers?

Here's a clue: During the Bucs' recent hot streak, they've taken advantage of some pretty ordinary quarterbacks. Matt Ryan of Atlanta struggled. Then came Nick Foles and Jacoby Brissett and David Blough, quarterbacks who weren't as good as the Bucs' young secondary.

Watson is different. Through 14 games, he has thrown for 3,668 yards completing 67.8% of his passes for 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for seven touchdowns and catching another. His 26 passing touchdowns tied his career-high, and he is just three touchdowns away from tying the franchise record of 29 in a season set by Matt Schaub in 2009. 

Prediction: Houston 26, Tampa Bay 17.

In other NFL games:

San Francisco 27, Los Angeles 21

Dallas 27, Philadelphia 24

Kansas City 28, Chicago 17

Previous post:

Next post: