- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
Most people believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense is back to its old form. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's group finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in overall defense and No. 6 in rushing defense, but a closer look shows that this unit has some significant issues.
The Buccaneers are allowing only 95 rushing yards per game, but there was a clear shift in their defensive performance after their Week 7 bye. In the six games preceding the bye, Tampa allowed only 62 rushing yards per game. A big part of this had to do with the competition, as Tampa didn't face a 2005 playoff team in those first six weeks. Over the course of the next 10 weeks, the Bucs allowed 113 rushing yards per game, a figure that would have ranked 18th in the league.
It isn't just the overall yardage in these last 10 games that is disturbing. The Buccaneers allowed more than 140 yards in four of the games, and two of the sub 100-yard rushing games during this stretch came against the exhausted and injury-depleted New Orleans Saints.
5dEric D. Williams
4dEric D. Williams
4dMel Kiper Jr.