TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their first opportunity to clinch the NFC South Division title on Sunday. If the Bucs win and the Saints and Panthers both lose or tie, they will win their first division title since 2007.
“We definitely want to win the division,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans said. “It’s something that I’ve never experienced. We won the Super Bowl last year, but we definitely want to win this first and get the division out of the way. Hopefully, get the NFC as well.”
But for the Bucs to handle their part of the scenario, they’ll have to get past a Bills team that has the top-ranked defense in the league, giving up just 272.3 total yards per game.
“I think they’re really well-coached,” Bucs quarterback Tom Brady said. “They play really hard, a very tough team, a very resilient team. They challenge you in every way. Last year they were in the AFC Championship Game. They’ve obviously got a dynamic offense and the top defense in the league. So (it’s a) tough challenge — really good up front, really good linebackers, the safeties have played together a long time, so they work well together. They do a lot of great things so it will be a great environment for football. It will be a lot of fun.”
Bucs Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich even said this Bills team has the best defense they’re facing this season.
“I think we played a couple of teams where they’ve been number one or two at the time,” Leftwich said. “But this group, you see the players that they have – players who’ve had success in this league and know how to play. You see those guys. They know how to play the game together and they’re well-coached. Coach (Leslie) Frazier, Coach (Sean) McDermott – those guys understand defenses well. They’re well-coached. Anytime you play a team that’s well-coached with really good football players it’s a challenge. We understand it will be a challenge. We’re just trying to prepare ourselves to be ready to roll.”
On the flip-side, the Bucs have the hottest and most productive offenses in the league. Tampa Bay ranks first in the NFL in passing offense (311.1 ypg), points scored (31.4) and sacks allowed (15).
“We just want to be multiple,” Leftwich said. “You guys hear me say the same thing every week that we want to be multiple, and we want to be able to do what we have to do to win that game. Whatever it is and whatever we feel fits that we need to do to win that football game. We’re going to try and do that. That’s every week in this league. Just try to prepare yourself for everything that may come your way and just try to be as multiple at as many different styles to your game as you really can have to try and win football games. The whole thing is doing what you need to do to try and walk away that game day with a win.”
The Bills (7-5) and Bucs (9-3) kick-off at 4:25 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs are (5-0) this season.