Jameis Winston's the Bucs' Road Warrior

After getting to .500 Sunday against the Eagles, the Buccaneers have a really great opportunity to reach their first winning record since 2012. And those chances get even better since they’re on the road.

How refreshing is this? We’re approaching December and the Buccaneers are actually in the thick of the playoff race. They’ve reached .500 and are on the verge of owning a winning record for the first time since 2012, when they were 6-4 under Greg Schiano before going on a 5-game losing streak. It’s actually pretty frustrating knowing the Bucs should have at least one, maybe two, more wins than they do now. However, all that aside, the Buccaneers should be able to head into their second meeting with Atlanta with a 6-5 record and fighting the Falcons for a wild card spot.

The Colts have obviously had a rough go this year, mostly due to the issues with star quarterback Andrew Luck, but still have a 5-5 record and are in the AFC South race. However, despite Matt Hasselbeck’s 3-0 record, the Buccaneers should not be terribly worried about facing him and should embrace playing on the road. Why? Simply put, Jameis Winston is better that way.

Winston, for whatever reason, is a better quarterback this season away from Raymond James Stadium. Here’s how his lines look:

Location

Completion %

Touchdowns

Interceptions

QB rating

Home

56.5%

5

8

69.2

Away

60.4%

10

1

107.1

 

Now, the other interesting thing to look at is his performance in wins versus losses. In wins, Winston has a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Losses? 1:1. Winston has done an incredible job taking care of the ball recently, even if the Eagles did drop three interceptions, on the same drive, this past week. Yes, he’s been fortunate, but he’s also been smarter and more cautious about taking care of the football. Was his five touchdown performance indicative of his abilities or is the Eagles’ defense that bad? A little of both, but that brings us to the Colts.

The Colts’ defense is pretty close to the Eagles in most statistical categories. Yes, stats only tell a portion of the story, but I’m a numbers guy, so I like to look at them. The Colts’ pass defense is atrocious, to put it nicely. They rank 29th in the NFL, allowing 279 yards per game, 19 touchdowns, and raking in 13 interceptions. With the return of Vincent Jackson and (fingers crossed) the potential return of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Winston could have an even bigger performance than he did in Philadelphia. And for a defense that has only 14 sacks on the season, it would appear that Winston might have all day to find an open receiver.

A large factor in Winston’s success last week was Doug Martin running wild through the Philly defense. Again, another potential for a repeat performance in Indy. The Colts’ run defense is allowing 113.4 yards per game and given up nine touchdowns on the ground. That puts them 21st in the NFL, only six spots ahead of the Eagles who Martin torched for 235 yards on Sunday.

This team is following Winston and will go as far as he takes them. Are they Super Bowl contenders? Not even close. But can this team win four or even five of their last six and make the playoffs for the first time since 2008? Absolutely. They’re believing in each other, buying into the system, and putting it together on the field. The Bucs are looking for their first three game win streak since November 11-24 of 2013.


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