Tampa Bay Sports Day

BUCS: Tampa Bay Host Hot Seahawks Sunday

The Sports Xchange previewed Sunday’s NFL game beteen the Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. TV: FOX, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin.

SERIES HISTORY: 13th regular-season meeting. Seahawks lead series, 8-4. The Seahawks have lost three of the last four meetings. Seattle fell behind 21-0 in 2013 to an 0-7 Tampa Bay team before rallying for a 27-24 overtime victory in Seattle. Seattle won the first four meetings after both teams entered the league as expansion franchises in 1976.

KEYS TO THE GAME: With multiple injuries at running back, Seattle will look to take advantage of a porous Buccaneers pass defense. The Seahawks have gained over 400 yards in each of their last two games.

Defensively, Seattle will need to be aware of Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans in the passing game and attempt to limit Doug Martin’s effectiveness on the ground.

The Bucs will continue to control the tempo and slow down the Seahawks’ pass rush with the running game. RB

Doug Martin still hasn’t worked himself back into form, but he had a season-high 24 carries last week and was a real asset in pass protection. His presence keeps the defense honest.

Running successfully on first down has improved the pass protection for Winston, who has cut down on his turnovers. He has only two interceptions in his last six games.

Defensively, the Bucs will be short-handed in the secondary. CB Brent Grimes has a quad strain and may not play.

The Bucs lost nickel corner Jude Adjei-Barimah to a four-game suspension for PED use. Against Kansas City, the Bucs allowed two passes of more than 40 yards. But Russell Wilson will take more shots downfield than Alex Smith, so there will be pressure on the safeties to keep the ball from going over their head.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
–Buccaneers WR Mike Evans vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. Evans is Tampa Bay’s most explosive offensive weapon and one of the top receiving targets in the league. With DeShawn Shead likely out, Seattle could be more inclined to have Sherman follow Evans around the field and line up against him more regularly.

–Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls vs. Buccaneers LB Lavonte David. Rawls is back as Seattle’s starter after missing most of the season due to injury. David will be one of Tampa Bay’s key cogs in trying to keep Rawls contained.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: FS Steven Terrell. Terrell is in line to get his first start with the Seahawks after Earl Thomas pulled his left hamstring on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Terrell has appeared in 26 games over the last three seasons for Seattle as a reserve safety and special teams contributor. Free safety is a vital cog in Seattle’s single-high safety defense and Terrell will have big shoes to fill.

FAST FACTS: Last week, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson improved his career record to 15-3 in November. In his last five November starts, Wilson has completed 70.6 percent with 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. … Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans caught six passes for 105 yards while being thrown to 13 times last week. Evans has accounted for 31.4 percent of Tampa Bay’s targets. No other receiver in the league is over 29 percent. … The Bucs are the fifth NFC team since the 1970 merger to have no more than one home win (1-4) and four or more road victories (4-1) through the first 10 games.

PREDICTION: Both teams are pretty banged up in their secondaries, which means this shapes up as a bit of an aerial show. The Bucs have not fared well in home shootouts, losing 30-24 to Oakland and 43-28 to Atlanta in the past month.

THEIR PICK: Seahawks, 33-23.
–Chris Cluf