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The Indianapolis Colts (6-6) will be in for a big game when they travel to Tampa Bay (5-7) to take on an exciting Buccaneers team. Despite their high offensive productivity, the Buccaneers are tied for the most turnovers surrendered this season. As a result of all the turnovers and offensive volatility, the Buccaneers defense has struggled to hold opponents under 30 points per game. While the Buccaneers are technically still in playoff contention, their hopes are dwindling by the week. With the Saints already clinching an NFC South championship, and the Seahawks and Vikings running away with the wildcard slots, there is almost no way that Tampa will make the playoffs.
On the other side of the field, the Colts offense has a conservative playing style that has produced ten fewer interceptions and ten less giveaways than the Bucs’. Jacoby Brissett has been an efficient game manager, who has kept the Colts in a position to win. At the same time, his low passing yardage, low QBR, and modest completion percentage indicate that the Colts’ passing offense is incapable of many explosive plays. For the Colts to steal a playoff spot from the Steelers, they’re going to need to lean on their rushing game and defense. For line movement and matchup history, visit the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers matchup page.
Date: Sunday, December 8th, 2019
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay, FL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A. Nelson (hamstring) Q, M. Stewart (knee) Q, S. Miller (hamstring) Q, A. Cappa (elbow) Q, J. Dean (shoulder) Q, J. Evans (foot) IR, A. Auclair (toe) IR, J. Cichy (elbow) IR, Z. Bailey (foot) IR, B. Gabbert (shoulder) IR, C. Simpson (undisclosed) Q, B. Mitchell (Achilles) IR, D. Dixon (undisclosed) IR, M. Liedtke (shoulder) IR, O. Stewart (knee/ACL) IR
Indianapolis Colts: T. Hilton (calf) Q, P. Campbell (hand) Q, M. Mack (hand) Q, K. Moore (ankle) Q, C. Rogers (knee) Q, E. Ebron (ankle) IR, D. Funchess (collarbone) IR, K. Turay (ankle) IR, K. Nauca (undisclosed) IR, I. Johnson (undisclosed) IR, D. Fountain (ankle) IR, S. Ishmael (knee) IR, B. Brown (undisclosed) IR, J. Patterson (knee/ACL) IR, M. Cirino (undisclosed) Q, K. Listenbee (undisclosed) Q, H. Binford (undisclosed) Q
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Analysis:
Jameis Winston might be the most volatile, frustrating quarterback in NFL history. While Winston currently ranks in the top five for passing yardage and touchdowns, he also leads the league in interceptions with a whopping 20 picks. When you look at the advanced statistics, Winston has a below average QBR and ranks towards the bottom in terms of Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) (football outsiders). Overall, Jameis Winston has the arm strength and arm talent necessary to be a fantastic franchise QB. Unfortunately, Winston’s tendency to make bad reads and force throws will hold back Winston and the Bucs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently have the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, with Chris Godwin in the slot and Mike Evans on the outside. Both Godwin and Evans already have 1,000+ receiving yards this season, and each rank in the top five for receiving yardage. Moreover, they have been excellent scorers, with a combined 16 total touchdowns. Plus, they each rank in the top five for DYAR, indicating that they have been elite wideouts (football outsiders). The only difference between Godwin and Evans pertains to their hands. While Chris Godwin has been a reliable target, with a 72% catch rate, Mike Evans has struggled to hold onto the football, with a 59% catch rate and seven drops (football outsiders).
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ secondary has been torched this year, with the eighth-worst pass defense efficiency in the NFL. The Bucs’ defense is also allowing a 9% explosive pass (20+ yards) rate, which ranks in the bottom ten of the NFL (sharp football stats). However, the Buccaneers pass defense has improved at defending explosive pass plays since they cut Vernon Hargreaves in week 11. Since week 11, the Buccaneers rank in the top ten in terms of restricting 20+ yard passes (sharp football stats). The Buccaneers will likely continue this success against a conservative offense, like the Colts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart
Indianapolis Colts Analysis:
Injuries have hobbled the Colts receiving corps for the entirety of the season. As of now, Eric Ebron and Devin Funchess are on injured reserve, and Marlon Mack, Paris Campbell and T.Y. Hilton are currently questionable. If all of those players are unable to suit up, the Colts be without nearly 38% of their receiving yardage. As of right now, Zach Pascal and Jack Doyle will be the leading receivers Indy, with a total of 850 receiving yards.
If you look up the term game manager, you’ll probably see a picture of Jacoby Brissett. The Colts signal-caller has played moderately well, with a 16:6 TD: INT ratio, and 2,245 passing yards. Compared to other quarterbacks’ production, Brissett has been middle of the pack in terms of passer rating, DYAR, completion percentage, and TD %. However, he has been towards the bottom of the rankings in terms of passing yards per game and QBR.
The Colts rushing attack is presently the fourth-best in the NFL, with nearly 140 running yards per game. Moreover, they are tied for the fourth-least fumbles lost in the league, indicating that the Colts’ running attack prides themselves on ball security. Over the previous six games, the Colts have rushed for 100+ yards five times and seen recent rushing success from both Marlon Mack and Johnathan Williams. Interestingly, the Colts’ rushing production has come with an offensive line that falls outside the top ten in terms of stuffed percentage. Colts rushers are getting hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on nearly 19% of their carries, which means that the Colts rushers are responsible for most of the rushing success. Regardless of whoever gets carries in week 14, they’ll be in for a tough contest against the Buccaneers’ elite run defense.
Overall, the Colts defense has been a relatively average unit. According to football outsiders, the Colts defense is ranked 15th in terms of efficiency. In fact, the Colts have failed to rank in the top ten for sacks, interceptions, fumbles recovered, points per game, and yards per game. In week 14, the Colts will probably struggle to contain a high powered offense like the Buccaneers. If they fail to get pressure on Jameis Winston, or confuse him in coverage, this game could get out of hand quickly.
Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart
This season, Chris Godwin has been the second-best wide receiver in fantasy football, with over 20 fantasy points per game. Godwin currently has the second most receiving yards in the NFL, and is tied for the most receiving touchdowns. At this point in the year, Godwin will be a WR1 for the foreseeable future. This is especially true against a Colts team that is giving up 32 fantasy points to wideouts over their last three games.
Mike Evans is a low end WR1 with a tremendous upside. While Evans is a less reliable receiving option than his teammate Chris Godwin, he still holds the third-highest fantasy point average this season. With Jameis a Winston under center, Mike Evans will always be a fantasy threat for owners. Expect Evans to take advantage of an average Colts defense that falls outside the top ten in every defensive statistic.
If you’re seriously considering starting Jacoby Brissett, you’re probably one of the most desperate fantasy owners out there. While Brissett is a quality NFL quarterback, he has failed to score 15+ fantasy points in four of his last five games. Moreover, Brissett has only thrown for 250 yards in four of the eleven games he’s played this year. Brissett hasn’t been a good fantasy QB since week seven, and you should look to avoid him if you can afford to.
Jack Doyle excelled in his first game without Eric Ebron. In week 13, Doyle finished with six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. Doyle has scored 10+ fantasy points in four of his last six contests this year, which means that he’s a fairly reliable TE option. He doesn’t have a high ceiling like Zach Ertz, George Kittle, or Evan Engram, but Doyle is a modest TE2 option.