Without Antonio Brown, expect the Bucs to lose today in Indianapolis

The Colts are hot, and Tampa Bay is 2-3 without AB.

click to enlarge KYLE ZEDAKER/TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Colts’ star player, running back Jonathan Taylor is Tom Brady’s main competition for the MVP award this season and coming off one of the most dominant performances by a player we’ve seen in the past decade.

The former Wisconsin Badger did it last week against one of the best defenses in the NFL (third to be exact) in the Buffalo Bills, racking up five total touchdowns and 185 yards rushing. Don’t expect Taylor to have another elite performance against the Bucs and their top rated run defense, but with the Colts’ dominant offensive line and Taylor’s dynamic playmaking ability, the Bucs could be in for a rough game.

Indianapolis is one of the hottest teams in the NFL going into today’s matchup, having gone 6-2 in its past 8 games since a 0-3 start to the season. Their only losses came against two of the best teams in football in the Ravens and the Titans.

All of this spells what could be a really difficult matchup for the defending Super Bowl champs, especially with Antonio Brown being ruled out for the Sunday afternoon matchup in Indianapolis where Colts quarterback Carson Wentz seems to finally be figuring out how to take care of the football again.

The Bucs’ record without Brown this season is 2-3, and expect it to become 2-4 after a 24-20 loss.

Wentz was a lost man in Philadelphia after his fantastic season in 2017 when the Eagles defeated TB12 and the Patriots in the Super Bowl with Nick Foles under center following Wentz tearing his ACL in Week 14.

While Wentz wasn’t helped by subpar Eagles teams after his Super Bowl win, the 28-year-old certainly didn’t do himself any favors, taking 50 sacks and throwing 15 interceptions in his last season in Philly. Wentz was traded to the Colts for a conditional first-round pick to reunite with his former offensive coordinator in Colts’ head coach Frank Reich.

His 0.8 interception percentage is the lowest of Wentz’ career, and much to the credit of the Colts’ fantastic offensive line, he’s only been sacked 18 times. Indianapolis’ trade for Wentz was a bit of a gamble, with the quarterback showing an inability to consistently produce since his brutal ACL injury, but it seems to be paying off so far.

Hopefully the Bucs prove me wrong and Brady is able to pick apart this Colts defense. While Indianapolis is middle of the road in yardage across the board, its points-per-game ranking is Top 10. The Colts have their league lead in takeaways to thank for that, but are also bottom-5 in red zone percentage. If the Bucs expect to gain an edge in this game, they’ll need to take care of the ball and take advantage of the Colts’ struggles in the red zone. Mike Evans and Gronk will (per usual) be getting a lot of targets inside the 20.

Regardless, this could be one of the more interesting games of the weekend, and after a pair dud games on Thanksgiving, it will certainly be a welcome sight.

@ctbrantley12

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