For the first time ever, the NFL will play a regular season game in Germany. The two teams involved in the historic matchup in Munich will be the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Seahawks found themselves in a close contest against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9, but were able to shut the door in a 31-21 road victory. Tampa Bay was also in a tight game in Week 9 against the Los Angeles Rams, and found a way to win in the waning moments by a final score of 16-13.
We’ll take a look at three keys for this groundbreaking football game.
Over the last 15 years or so, NFL teams have gotten used to playing regular season games in foreign countries. The most common overseas destination has been England, where the league has featured at least one game there every year since 2007, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic. The NFL has also scheduled games in Mexico City in recent years.
Because of this track record, the vast majority of NFL players and coaching staff members have been involved in a foreign game, and have an idea of what to expect. While that experience will serve them well here, this might be a little different. Germany is farther than any of the other destinations relative to the continental United States. The trip is especially long for the Seahawks, who are flying from the west coast of the United States. We could see some sluggish play early in the game as a result.
Seattle’s Aggressive Calls Early
As Tampa Bay proved last week, they cannot be counted out of any game, regardless of how poorly they play. The Buccaneers probably did not deserve to beat Los Angeles last week, but they had one last chance to overcome their struggles and to no one’s surprise, quarterback Tom Brady delivered.
Perhaps the scariest sight for any team in all of pro sports is Brady with the ball in his hands driving to win a game at the end. The Seahawks are likely no exception, and they may take dedicated strides to ensure that the contest is not within eight points down the stretch. To that end, they might elect to take deep shots down the field often, and go for it on fourth down more often than they normally would.
More Rachaad White Involvement
As Brady entered his age 45 season, the Buccaneers were hopeful that the offense could rely more on a ground game that had been decent in the last couple of years. However, their effectiveness in that department has been putrid. Tampa Bay is last in the NFL in yards per carry and rushing yards.
Starter Leonard Fournette has not provided the expected production out of the backfield, so it is possible that offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will lean more on rookie Rachaad White. He has shown a little bit more burst than Fournette has in the last three weeks, and could give the offense a much needed jolt.