Coming off a dramatic win that ended a three-game losing streak, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to keep a good thing going as they travel overseas to face the Seattle Seahawks in Munich, Germany.
Here’s everything you need to know heading into the NFL’s first-ever regular season game in Germany:
Things have gone much differently for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers overseas than they have for their quarterback. The Bucs are winless in three trips across the pond, while Tom Brady has a 3-0 record from his tenure with the New England Patriots.
The Bucs are the only team in the NFL to make at least three trips out of the country without a victory, while Brady helped the Patriots become one of just three teams to win all three of their international games.
Something’s got to give Sunday, as either the Bucs will get their first win, or Brady will suffer in his first loss.
All the headlines:Jspancksonville Jspanguspanrs spant Kspannsspans City Chiefs: Everything you need to know spanbout Week 10 bspanttle
He’s one unique cheetah:Dolphins plspanyers, cospanches revespanl whspant mspankes Tyreek Hill specispanl
The Bucs are coming off a dramatic win in the final seconds last week, with Brady leading one of his vintage game-winning drives en route to a 16-13 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Even so, Brady and his offense still struggled for most of that game, and they barely avoided a four-game losing streak. Now they’ll face a Seahawks team that’s blown away preseason expectations, and currently sits atop the NFC West at 6-3.
After barely escaping with a home win last week against this year’s disappointing version of the Rams, the Bucs have a chance to prove they’re actually moving in the right direction by beating a quality opponent.
Three Bucs didn’t make the trip to Germany and have been ruled out for Sunday’s game: Wide receiver Russell Gage (hamstring), left guard Luke Goedeke (foot), and linebacker J.J. Russell (hamstring).
Tight end Cameron Brate (neck) is listed as questionable, while Pro Bowl safety Antoine Winfield Jr. has cleared concussion protocol, and is expected to play Sunday.
Special-teamer Cullen Gillaspia (knee) is the only Seahawks player ruled out for this game, while wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (groin) is questionable.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Bucs WR Mike Evans vs. Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen
Evans is dealing with multiple injuries (ankle, ribs), but that won’t keep one of the NFL’s toughest receivers out of the lineup.
He’s a future Hall of Famer who wins with a rare combination of size, athleticism and physicality, which makes him a fascinating matchup against Woolen, one of the most impressive rookies in the league this year.
With rare size and athleticism of his own, Woolen has already grabbed four interceptions this season.
Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III vs. Bucs’ front seven
After struggling to stop the run for more than a month, Tampa Bay shut down the Rams’ ground game last week, but that’s not exactly much to write home about.
They’ll face a much tougher test this week against Walker, the current front-runner for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Bucs defensive linemen Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks, as well as linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, will have their work cut out for them in the trenches Sunday.
Seahawks WRs DK Metcalf & Tyler Lockett vs. Bucs’ secondary
The Bucs have been struggling to stay healthy in the defensive backfield all year, but they should be back to full strength for this game, thanks in large part to the return of Winfield.
This unit has spent much time this season with all of their best players on the field at one time, and they’ll need them Sunday against one of the NFL’s best pass-catching tandems.
Metcalf and Lockett have complementary skill sets that can challenge any secondary at every level of the field.
The Bucs got a clutch win last week, but they’ll need more than 44 seconds of hero ball from Brady and the offense to beat one of the league’s most complete teams.
Seattle is extremely balanced on offense, and can beat opposing defenses just about any way they need to, while the Bucs have struggled to stop the run for most of the season.
Tampa Bay has gone five games without forcing a turnover on defense, and outside of that game-winning drive last week, the offense has been a disjointed mess all year long. Even with the Bucs riding high from last week’s dramatic finish, the Seahawks are just a better team right now.
Seahawks 23, Bucs 16