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5 Questions with Bucs Nation: Will Baker Mayfield wake up feeling dangerous on Sunday?

I sat down with Evan Wanish of Bucs Nation to talk Colts vs. Bucs. We talked Baker Mayfield, the Tampa defense and picked a winner.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 12, our Indianapolis Colts will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Knowing the show was coming to town this weekend, I sat down with Evan Wanish of Bucs Nation. You can find him on Twitter @EvanNFL. He and I swapped questions about the Colts and Bucs and what follows is what I learned about this week’s enemy.

You can find my answers to his questions here.

Chris Shepherd: Coming into week 12 the Bucs have lost 5 of their last 6, but they’ve been in almost every game and they’ve played some really good teams. What has gone wrong during that stretch and is there anything you expect them to get right this week against the Colts that they haven’t in weeks past?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Wanish: Over the past 4 or 5 games, Bucs defense has not been able to create turnovers like they did before their bye week. In their last 4 games, they have two total turnovers as a defense. They have gone 1-3 in that stretch and the lack of turnovers is a big reason why. I think this week presents an opportunity for the Bucs defense to finally create some turnovers and give the ball to the offense in favorable positions on the field.

CS: If you were an offensive coordinator creating a game plan to beat the Buccaneers defense, what would that plan look like? What weaknesses would you try to exploit? What strengths would you try to stay away from? Does the Todd Bowles system have any inherent weaknesses?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

EW: If I’m an offensive coordinator looking to attack Tampa, I look to air it out while still maintaining a semblance of a run game. The Bucs secondary may be without Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean in this game so a young secondary could be tested. The Bucs have also struggled at times when teams go up tempo against them so I would look to implement that as well. As for the Todd Bowles system, the one weakness is that if the blitzes don’t get there, the defense usually gets shredded. The Bucs front four has not been able to get home consistently enough so Bowles has to bring extra pressure and when they get to the QB it works out, but when it’s picked up it spells trouble for Tampa.

CS: From afar it seems like Baker Mayfield is having his best season in quite some time. How has the Baker experience been? Is he a long term option for the Bucs or will the team look to move on after this season?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

EW: Baker Mayfield has been inconsistent at times this season, but it has definitely been more good than bad. He’s done a really good job protecting the football this season which is something he’s struggled with in the past. As far as the future, I think it really depends on how the team and Mayfield performs down the stretch. The coaching staff also plays a large factor. If Todd Bowles is fired, it’s hard to see a world where Mayfield is back but if the Bucs battle their way into a playoff spot or go down fighting, you could very well see Bowles and Baker back in Tampa Bay in 2024.

CS: These two teams don’t play each other very often so can you tell us about a couple players Colts fans might not know that will have an impact on Sunday’s game?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

EW: I will give you two rookies. The first being 6th round pick, WR Trey Palmer. Palmer has had a pretty large role in this offense as the No.3 guy after Russell Gage went down and he’s made some big plays for the Bucs. With all the attention on Evans and Godwin, Palmer could make a play or two that ends up being the difference. The other rookie is on the other side of the ball and that’s 3rd round pick, outside linebacker Yaya Diaby. Diaby is coming off of a 2 sack performance against San Francisco and has 3 sacks in his past 2 games. He has continued to gain playing time and with that he is gaining confidence. Diaby could be the answer the Bucs have been searching for to fix their pass rush woes this season.

CS: As of the time of this writing DraftKings Sportsbook has the Colts as 2.5 point favorites at home. Is that line fair? How do you see this game going and what is the final score?

Tennessee Titans v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

EW: That’s probably a pretty fair line for the home team. I think this game is pretty even. Talent wise I think the Bucs are probably slightly better, but they also could be without some key pieces on defense like Lavonte David, Devin White, Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean so it’s hard to know just how productive this defense will be on Sunday. With that being said, the Bucs backs are against the wall. A loss here would do significant damage to their playoff hopes and the last time their backs were against the wall in a must win game it was against a fellow AFC South foe in the Tennessee Titans and they were able to take care of business. I think the Bucs win a super close, but ugly one by a score of 21-20.

As of this writing, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Colts as 2.5-point favorites at home this weekend. If you’re betting on this game, you can find updated lines at DraftKings Sportsbook.

I’d like to thank Evan for taking the time to answer our questions this week as we look forward to this matchup.

And as always, go Colts.