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Chargers vs. Buccaneers: Week 13 Staff Predictions

The BFTB Staff gives its predictions for Sunday’s game.

San Diego Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Ruben J. Gonzalez: It's a shame we won't have Vincent Jackson playing in this game as it could presumably be his last chance to play in San Diego- either due to retirement or you know... His absence has left Mike Evans to shoulder the Buccaneers receiving load. And he's responded by becoming top-5 leader in numerous categories. Stopping Evans will have to be mission no.1. And stopping Famous Jameis and forcing him into tough throws will be mission no. 2. The Chargers Defense will dictate if they come out with a victory. I think Casey Hayward and the Front 7 have the fight in them to hunt down these pirates. Chargers 27 Buccaneers 23.

Daniel Farias: Last week was a nice surprise seeing the Chargers front seven on defense play so well. I think some of that will carry over but I expect the Bucs to score points. Jameis Winston is a good young quarterback and will make plays against a suspect secondary. I also think he will make a couple of mistakes that will cost his team the game. I expect Melvin Gordon will break 100 yards and score two touchdowns. 27-23 Chargers

Jamie Sewell: The Bucs will put up a lot of points in this one. Mike Evans is playing like a top 5 WR in the NFL this year, and there's no way Casey Hayward and Craig Mager will be able to stop him from feasting. The good news is, the Bucs don't have the best OL, and I expect Joey Bosa to cause havoc against Donovan Smith, at the same time helping Melvin Ingram, Damion Square and Tenny Palepoi (who will finally get a sack!) be left with more favourable matchups as the Bucs overcompensate to help stop Bosa. The Chargers offense is going to be heavily limited without Tyrell Williams if he's unavailable to go, but I'm going to bank on him being healthy, which means the Chargers should continue to fire on all cylinders offensively. Philip Rivers throws 3 TDs, Melvin Gordon punches in another, and the Chargers win this one 34-24.

Louis Gorini: A couple of weeks ago when I looked at the schedule I marked this down as a W for the Chargers. But it looks like Tampa Bay is starting to turn the corner on the defensive side of the ball. The keys to victory for the Chargers is the running game. San Diego needs to pound the ball with Gordon to neutralize the quick and undersized Bucs defense. But I don't think the Chargers will follow that game plan. The Bucs are really fast on the defensive side of the ball and I think they are going to give the Chargers slow lineman fits in both the running game and pass defense. I picture Rivers throwing a couple of picks because of the Tampa Bay pass rush. On the flip side, the Bolts defense should keep the Bucs offense in check. This will be a low scoring game. The Buccaneers edge out the Chargers, 21-17

Cody Young: Coming off a good win in Houston, the Bolts have their work cut out for them this week against a hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Jamies Winston has upped his play as of late and it is really showing in their offense. Mike Evans is one heckuva player and Casey Hayward will have his hands full covering him, though I do belive he's up to the challenge. The Chargers defense did a great job of forcing turnovers last week, and I think they'll need a few more against Tampa to come out on top.

If they do manage to wrangle the ball away from the Bucs offense, Philip Rivers and company will need to work some magic against a defense that has looked dangerous over the past few weeks. The offensive line did a nice job of containing the Texans duo of Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus for the most part. Hopefully, they can do the same to the buccaneers stable of pass rushers. I would like to see them open up some more holes for Melvin Gordon though. And for goodness sake, can they get Melvin some more touches should they find themselves with a lead and the clock winding down? I think the Chargers can get a win at home in San Diego. But I'm picking the Buccaneers. 28-24 Tampa Bay.

Nathan Graber-Lipperman: For the Bolts to take the dub this week, their defense has to gameplan to take out Mike Evans from the equation. Evans has been roasting some of the league's best of late, and Casey Hayward probably isn't a match 1-on-1 against an actual quarterback this week. Let the Bucs other options beat you, playing into the Chargers' defensive strength (the run) and hope that Rivers can win in a shootout. This one will be close, though, no way around it. I'll go with 33-27 Chargers.

Ryan Doyle: The Buccaneers are coming off of two impressive wins over Seattle and Kansas City. They still haven't sold me. I think that their defensive line, Noah Spence, in particular, is going to have a big day. The Buccaneer offense also has the three-headed monster of Winston, Martin, and Evans that could cause some trouble to an improved, but thin Chargers defense. I think that if Tyrell Williams is out, that has a huge impact and slows down the Chargers passing attack. The Chargers will try to get Melvin Gordon going and look for their tight ends over and over. The Chargers take advantage of a late Winston interception and win a close one. Chargers 20 Buccaneers 16.

Aaron Woolley: In what will probably be a show of strength and fireworks, the Chargers will need to be on their A-game. Casey Hayward will have his hands full with (in my opinion) the best young wide receiver in the league, in Mike Evans. Expect Joey Bosa to be in Winston's face all day long to try and disrupt his rhythm. Their running backs don't scare me, and neither do any of their receivers not named Mike Evans. Their run D looks okay, but when Philip Rivers and company take the field and score often and early, Melvin Gordon will grind down the Buccaneers late. Chargers win a high scoring affair, 45-31

Roger Hinojosa: While I feel like the Chargers are going to win this one, I think this will be the game to end the Chargers playoff hopes. Despite the injuries to the skill players, Phillip Rivers has been lighting up defenses. However, the Chargers have given up 23 turnovers, which is dangerous against a Bucs defense that has been racking up turnovers during their winning streak. The Bucs offense isn't a monster aside from Mike Evans and maybe Cameron Brate. The Chargers defense has been applying pressure and creating turnovers as well. While the Chargers will put up a fight, I see them dropping another one in the 4th quarter. Bucs win 35-31

Jeff Siniard: I feel like this game defensively comes down to how well the Chargers can a) keep Winston contained in the pocket and not allow him to extend plays and b) can the Chargers get away with Hayward on Evans 1-on-1. On offense, the key is simply to remain balanced and avoid mistakes. I think the Chargers will force 1 more from Winston than the Bucs to from Rivers, and that will be the difference. Chargers 23, Tampa Bay 20.

Richard Wade: This season, the Chargers have been better than the Buccaneers in all three phases. They’re playing at home this Sunday. The Bucs have to fly cross country for this one. There is no good reason the home team should lose this game and I’m not going to search for a bad one. Chargers 28 - 21 Buccaneers

Matthew Stanley: The Chargers will probably be without their best remaining WR in Tyrell Williams this week. Travis Benjamin has been on existent so unless Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry have a huge game, this is going to be tough. The Bucs are traveling across the country but they are a hot team right now. I think it will be close, not particularly high scoring, but the Bucs win 24-17

Derrick Browne: The Chargers won't be able to stop Mike Evans on Sunday. He's arguably the hottest receiver in the league right now, and the Chargers won't have an answer for him. He'll get his numbers, but if the Chargers can contain everything else on the Bucs' offense, I like their chances. As for the offense, I think Melvin Gordon gets back to what we saw from him in the Tennessee game. Rivers should also be able to take advantage of an average Tampa Bay pass defense early and often. Give me the Chargers in a shootout, 37-30.