The Steelers need a win at Tampa Bay in the worst way. Unfortunately, their defense can’t stop Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneers.
There are plenty of NFL quarterbacks more talented than Ryan Fitzpatrick, but few are hotter than the Buccaneers signal caller at the moment. Unfortunately for the Steelers, they’re taking on FitzMagic at the absolute worst time.
Remember, Mike Tomlin’s team stumbles into this matchup with an ugly record of 0-1-1. They had chances to win against both the Browns and Chiefs, but they easily could be 0-2 as well. The mood around the Steelers’ locker room is tense, at best.
If Steelers fans are harboring any hope of their defense shutting down the Buccaneers offense they should dismiss it at once. When you watch the Pittsburgh secondary on film it’s clear they are really disorganized at the moment. They’re not going to suddenly get it all together against the offense that’s arguably been the NFL’s top unit through two weeks.
That means from a fantasy perspective, feel free to load up on Tampa Bay skill players. Fitzpatrick is an obvious starter at quarterback. Mike Evans, Desean Jackson and O.J. Howard are all good bets as well. The Buccaneers are going to score a lot of points in this game.
It’s not a hopeless game for the Steelers though. As bad as their defense has looked, Ben Roethlisberger and the team’s offense have performed pretty well. The Buccaneers happen to have defensive issues of their own. They’ve given up 69 points in two weeks. Fitzpatrick and the offense have quietly covered up their team’s defensive deficiencies.
The Steelers are going to score plenty of points in this game too. Antonio Brown may not have shown up for work on Monday, but he’s still going to be ready to go when the game kicks off. Neither Ryan Smith or Brent Grimes has the talent and/or speed to contain him. Expect a big day for Brown.
The key for the Buccaneers will be whether or not they can keep James Conner under wraps. He isn’t nearly as explosive as Le’Veon Bell, but he might be more efficient. Conner can hurt Tampa Bay on the ground and in the passing game. Lavonte David is going to need to have a massive game if they are going to stop Conner form running wild.
What this game is going to lack on defense, it should make up for in pure entertainment value. The Buccaneers are coming into this game on a real high and the home crowd should give them a massive boost. They probably aren’t better than the Steelers, but expect Fitzpatrick and company to ride the wave of momentum into another improbable win.