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Titans vs Bucs: Keys to victory

The raucous atmosphere of Raymond James Stadium will be the scene of this week’s intriguing interconference match-up between the Tennessee Titans (3-1) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2). John Gruden’s Buccaneer squad has performed admirably at home this season, winning their first two games at Raymond James by a combined score of 55-17.
The Titans will be looking to improve upon their mistake-filled performance during last week’s less than impressive 20-13 win over the lowly Atlanta Falcons. On Sunday, the Titans will be facing an improved Tampa Bay team that is currently tied for first place in the NFC South division and only one game shy of equaling last season’s win total(4).
Keys to a Titan Victory on Sunday
Avoid turnovers
To defeat the Bucs, the Titans will have to avoid the seemingly inescapable turnover bug that plagued the offense last Sunday against Atlanta. The Tampa Bay defense, led by Ronde Barber and the ageless Derrick Brooks, has been extremely opportunistic at home, forcing seven turnovers in the team’s first two home victories. Emerging young linebacker Barrett Ruud currently leads the league in total tackles (51) while also accounting for an interception and three forced fumbles. Vince Young and the rest of the Titans’ offense must limit their mistakes against a Tampa Bay defense that thrives on forcing turnovers at home.
Force Jeff Garcia to make mistakes
A key ingredient in Tampa’s success thus far has been the presence of veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia. Through the first five games of the season, Garcia has yet to throw a single interception while compiling the league’s 5th highest quarterback rating (103.6).
The Titans, on the other hand, have held opposing quarterbacks to a league-low 59.7 quarterback rating. All of the quarterbacks that the Titans have faced thus far, David Garrard (88.8), Peyton Manning (86.6), Drew Brees (39.6) and Joey Harrington (44.2) have suffered their lowest quarterback rating of the season against the Titans’ defense. The Titans will be in great shape if this trend continues with Jeff Garcia on Sunday.
Contain Joey Galloway
At the age of 35, Joey Galloway continues to be one of the league’s most dangerous receivers. Galloway has once again emerged as Tampa’s biggest threat to take it to the house, averaging 17 yards per catch with 2 touchdowns. Due to injuries to Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman at the running back position, Tampa will likely rely upon the combination of Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway to provide big plays for their offense. The Titans’ defensive backfield must do a good job of containing Galloway if they expect to disrupt the Tampa Bay offensive attack.