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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' keys to victory

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 09:01 AM

Pressure the pocket

The Titans have kept QB Matt Hasselbeck clean and upright, allowing just one sack in every 28 pass attempts. He's not a very mobile quarterback and his efficiency drops dramatically when forced out of the pocket. To keep Hasselbeck from picking them apart today, the Bucs have to break down that pocket and force Hasselbeck to make plays on the move. If necessary, Tampa Bay cannot hesitate to get aggressive with blitzes to force Hasselbeck out of his comfort zone.

 

Compete for the ball

Despite their lack of size, Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan and Jason McCourty are among the best cover cornerbacks in the league. Bucs receivers have struggled to gain separation. The combination likely will force QB Josh Freeman to take some chances by throwing into tight windows, so the Bucs' pass catchers have to compete for the ball and win more opportunity balls than they lose.

 

Run the ball

This is a game made for Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount. The Titans have struggled to stop the run and are especially vulnerable against power rushers. A week ago against Atlanta, the Titans allowed Michael Turner to run for 5 yards per carry. The Bucs like to use Blount to set up play-action passes downfield and can work that game plan by giving the Titans a heavy dose of their best back. Blount's confidence should be high after he ran for 107 yards against the Packers.

 

Key Matchup

Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount

vs. Titans DT Jurrell Casey

 

Blount could be in for another big day if he can get past Casey. A 6-foot-1, 300-pound run-stopping specialist, Casey is emerging as a top-level defender, but he hasn't faced many runners as powerful as Blount. Casey has good technique and strength, but Blount will test all of his abilities. Blount has a tendency to move slowly into a hole, but he needs to hit the hole with authority to get past Casey. His goal is to get to the defense's second level, where the Titans' linebackers will struggle to keep him from gaining yardage after contact.

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