Game Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Cincinnati Bengals

Carl Lawson

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: The game will air on FOX-TV. In the Bengals' home region, it will be carried by WXIX-TV (Ch. 19) in Cincinnati, WGRT-TV (Ch. 45) in Dayton, WDKY-TV (Ch. 56) in Lexington, and WTTE-TV (Ch. 28) in Columbus. Broadcasters are Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter).

Radio: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Tickets: Tickets may be purchased by calling the Bengals Ticket Hotline at (513) 621-8383, online at Bengals.com or by visiting the Paul Brown Stadium ticket office. The Bengals Ticket Hotline and ticket office hours are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Tickets may be purchased 24/7 through Bengals.com. Fans can call the Bengals Ticket Hotline or chat with a ticket representative online if they have any questions.

For those who purchase individual game tickets on Bengals.com or the Official Bengals app will not be subject to additional processing fees when they choose mobile tickets as the delivery option.

Setting the scene: Coming off one of their most lopsided defeats in recent memory, the Cincinnati Bengals this week host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

The Bengals look to regroup after losing 45-10 to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium. The 35-point losing margin was Cincinnati's largest since the team lost 37-0 to the N.Y. Jets at The Meadowlands in the 2009 regular-season finale, and the Chiefs' 45 points were the most scored against the Bengals since the Buffalo Bills won 49-31 at Paul Brown Stadium in Game 10 of the 2010 season.

Still, if they rebound quickly with a win over the Buccaneers this week, the Bengals would remain in a solid position in the division standings and very much in the conversation for the AFC North Division title. Currently, at 4-3, the Bengals stand tied with the Baltimore Ravens, just a few percentage points behind the 3-2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers, who had their bye last week. Cincinnati, which has its bye next week, holds an edge over Baltimore by virtue of a win over the Ravens in Week 2.

Heading into the Kansas City game, few doubted that defeating the Chiefs at Arrowhead would be challenging, particularly with respect to holding Kansas City's offense in check. And that definitely proved to be the case. The Chiefs, who now have the AFC's best record at 6-1, entered the contest with the NFL's No. 2-ranked scoring offense (35.8 points per game), led by dynamic, second-year QB Patrick Mahomes, who now leads the NFL in touchdown passes (22) and is second in passing yards (2,223). Kansas City rolled for 551 yards of offense against the Bengals, the most by a Cincinnati opponent since Cleveland totaled 554 in a 51-45 Browns win at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Game 2 of the 2007 season. Mahomes completed 28 of 39 passes for 358 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a 123.7 passer rating for the Chiefs, who totaled 33 first downs and did not punt in the game. The Chiefs also had 198 yards rushing, including 45 by Mahomes.

But perhaps the most unexpected aspect of the game's outcome was that Cincinnati's offense, which ranked No. 6 in the NFL in scoring heading into the contest and had had a solid season overall, faced as much difficulty as it did in sustaining drives against Kansas City's defense. The Chiefs ranked last in the league in total net yards allowed (468.2 yards per game) heading in, but the Bengals had just one drive longer than 50 yards, giving the Chiefs plenty of opportunities to showcase their high-scoring unit. The Bengals totaled just 239 yards — their lowest output of the season — including just 174 net yards passing.

Among the Bengals positives from the Chiefs game was the continued production of WR A.J. Green. He recorded his second game of the season with 100 or more yards receiving, catching seven passes for 117 yards. On the season, he has 40 receptions for 611 yards and five touchdowns, putting him on pace for season totals of 91 catches for 1397 yards and 11 scores and within reach of career highs in all three of those categories (he has career highs of 98 receptions, 1426 yards and 11 TDs).

The series: Tampa Bay leads 7-4, thanks to a six-game series win streak in meetings spanning from 1995 through 2010. The Buccaneers are 5-2 in games played in Cincinnati, including 3-0 at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals, however, won the last meeting between the two teams, 14-13 in 2014 at Tampa Bay. Prior to that '14 victory, the Bengals had not beaten the Bucs since 1989, when they prevailed 56-23 at Riverfront Stadium.

Bengals-Buccaneers connections: Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter played together at Idaho State University from 1978-80. During the '81 season, Koetter's final season as a player and Lewis' first as a coach, ISU won an NCAA Division I-AA championship ... Bengals DE Michael Johnson played for the Buccaneers in 2014 ... Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick played for the Bengals from 2007-08 ...Bengals QB Jeff Driskel is from Oviedo, Fla., and played four seasons (2011-14) at the University of Florida, before transferring to Louisiana Tech University ... Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap played at the University of Florida ... Bengals OT Bobby Hart played at Florida State University ... Buccaneers DE Noah Spence played at Ohio State University and Eastern Kentucky University ... Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mark Duffner coached for the Bengals from 1997-2002. Duffner also coached at the University of Cincinnati (1977-80) and Ohio State University from 1975-76 ... Buccaneers defensive line coach Brentson Buckner played for the Bengals in 1997 ... Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt was with the Buccaneers from 2010-11 ... Buccaneers run game coordinator offensive line coach George Warhop played (1981-82) and coached (1983) at the University of Cincinnati ... Buccaneers running backs coach Tim Spencer played (1979-82) and coached ('94-2003) at Ohio State University ... Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin coached at the University of Florida in 2010 ...Bengals WR Kermit Whitfield (practice squad) is from Orlando, Fla., and played at Florida State University ... Bengals HB Quinton Flowers (practice squad) played at the University of South Florida ... Bengals H-B Jordan Franks (practice squad) is from Wakulla, Fla., and played at the University of Central Florida ...Buccaneers S Godwin Igwebuike (practice squad) is from Pickerington, Ohio (Pickerington North High School) ... Buccaneers secondary coach Jon Hoke is from Kettering, Ohio, and coached at Bowling Green State University from 1983-86 ... Buccaneers head strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy coached at Ohio State University from 1989-2001 ... Buccaneers assistant to the head coach Anthony Perkins coached at Ohio University from 2015-16.

Bengals' O excels in red zone: The Bengals' offense this season has scored TDs on 16 of its 22 trips to the red zone, good for a 72.7 percent rate that ranks second in the NFL. The Bengals scored a TD and a FG on their two trips to the red zone last week at Kansas City.

Entering their Week 5 matchup with Miami, Cincinnati had come away with points on an NFL-best 34 consecutive trips to the red zone (25 TDs, nine FGs) dating back to Game 9 of last season. But an INT on their first red-zone trip vs. Miami ended the streak, which was the longest by a Bengals team since 2005-06 (40 straight).

25 points does the trick: Since 2011, the rookie season of both QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green, the Bengals own a 44-1-2 record (.957) when scoring 25 or more points. Only Miami has a better winning percentage, at .969 (31-1-0), when topping the 25-point mark over that span. 

The Bengals are 4-0 when scoring 25 or more in 2018, after hitting the mark in wins over Indianapolis (34-23), Baltimore (34-23), Atlanta (37-36) and Miami (27-17).

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