The Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers lock up in a matchup of AFC vs NFC in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season. Despite a season that is worse than many expected for the Tom Brady-led squad, the Bucs are in first place in the weak AFC South. The Browns, also having a worse-than-expected season, are tied for last place in the AFC North.
Cleveland has one more game before Deshaun Watson returns from suspension but the season is basically over despite seven games remaining.
For Tampa Bay, their international game in Germany was victorious and followed by their bye week. The Bucs are 5-5 this season with an impressive win over the Dallas Cowboys to open the season and a shocking loss to the Carolina Panthers littering their schedule.
We take a look at the team’s five victories and five losses to try to get some idea of what the differences are.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Victories
- Defense-controlled games: Bucs gave up 16 or fewer points in all five victories
- Only two interceptions (3 total turnovers) total in the five wins
- Seven forced turnovers by opponents
- Brady spread the ball around to a variety of pass-catchers in victories
- Stopped the run in wins: Only one team had over 100 yards rushing against Tampa Bay
- In victories, only one player had more than 100 yards receiving (Cooper Kupp)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defeats
- If four out of the five losses, the Bucs had less than 50 yards rushing
- Averaged a lost fumble per game in their five losses
- Opponents rushed for over 150 yards in three of the five losses
- Brady was sacked 10 times in the five losses
- Only forced three turnovers by opponents
- Defense gave up 20 or more points in four of the five losses including 41 and 27 points
- Lost the Time of Possession difference by more than seven minutes in three of the five games
What the Browns Can Learn
These looks almost always bring us back to the standards we’ve known in the NFL for years. To win, Cleveland must do the very simple things, some that they’ve struggled with all year:
- Stop the run
- Run the ball
- Limit turnovers
- Create turnovers
Unfortunately, the Browns haven’t been able to stop the run, limit turnovers or create turnovers (the -6 differential is the fourth worst in the NFL).
If the offense can control the clock with the run and Brissett can keep the ball safe, Cleveland can make it a tight game. The problem becomes that Brady rarely turns the ball over, has a long history of comebacks and the Browns has let every back (hyperbole) run wild on them.
Do you think Cleveland has a chance Sunday versus Tampa Bay?