The San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet this Sunday in a game between two struggling teams that are out of the playoff picture and will likely be using the next few weeks to evaluate players and coaches in an attempt to determine who will be back next season, and in that regard there’s no one more compelling in this game than Buccaneers quarterback and former number one overall pick Jameis Winston.
It’s been a rocky season for Winston, who sat out the first three games of the year due to suspension and was later benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston is back in the starting lineup this week after Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in a loss to the New York Giants on November 18, but there’s still uncertainty at the moment over whether or not the Buccaneers will want to bring him back next season on what is slated to be a $20.9 million salary. He’ll have the next six games to prove himself, starting this week against the 49ers.
“Jameis, some of the plays he’s made over his career are unbelievable,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday, per 49ers.com. “I know he’s been rusty at times this year, which all guys are when they can’t practice or are out of the building for I think about a month was what it was. He always lets it rip. He always tries to make plays. But, he’s been a little off in some games, which have led to some picks. But, he’s come back in and given them a chance to win some games. Jameis is a guy that also, when nothing is there, he’s made some plays that I didn’t think people could make. He can be as good as anyone in this league and that’s why we’ve got to play very well.”
The turnover battle will be something to keep an eye on in this game, with these two teams being worst in the league in turnover differential (Buccaneers -23, 49ers -15) while also showing a lack of ability to create takeways (the 49ers are last in the league with five takeaways, while Tampa Bay has six). It’s a reason why the teams have only five wins between them and why the Buccaneers lead the league in total offense but are sitting in last place in the NFC South.
“I think that’s one of the reasons for both teams not having much success,” Shanahan said. “You look, they’ve struggled on defense definitely. Yards and points, and then when you don’t get turnovers, it’s hard to capitalize on how good their offense has done. There’s a lot of good offenses in the league this year and they’re moving the ball better than anyone. But, they also don’t have many wins because of it because they’re turning it over and not getting them back. We’ve been a little more middle of the pack in both and it’s gotten us a chance in every game. But, our offense has got to score more. The defense has got to get more picks to get more wins.”
Chances are the turnover issue will be a storyline in this game, where there could wind up being a healthy amount of offense and points scored. Here are some facts and figures to know heading into Sunday’s game, including where to catch it on television.
San Francisco 49ers (2-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
How to watch
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT
Follow: CBS Sports App
Radio: 49ers Radio Network
Referee: John Parry
Coverage map: 506sports.com
Line: Buccaneers -3, over/under 54 (via Sportsline.com as of Friday, November 23)
Unit rankings (as of Friday, 11/23):
Buccaneers – Total offense: 1st (458.5 YPG); 1st passing (361.0 YPG), 27th rushing (97.5 YPG); 8th scoring (26.7 PPG); Total defense: 28th (395.9 YPG); 28th passing (282.3 YPG), 19th rushing (113.6 YPG), 32nd in points allowed (32.9 PPG)
49ers – Total offense: 16th (356.5 YPG), 23rd passing (222.9 YPG), 4th rushing (133.6 YPG), 18th scoring (23.0 PPG); Total defense: 10th (344.2 YPG), 15th passing (242.0 YPG), 13th rushing (102.2 YPG), 27th in points allowed (26.6)
Last week: Giants 38, Buccaneers 35; 49ers bye
Overall series regular season record: 49ers lead 17-6
Last regular season meeting: 10/23/16 – Buccaneers 34, 49ers 17 (Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA)
Links of interest: