SANTA CLARA — The 49ers flew cross country Friday afternoon to face the best bad team in the NFL: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs’ record is 3-7. They’ve lost four games in a row and seven of their past eight. They languish in last place in the NFC South. They’ve allowed more points and committed more turnovers than any team in the league. They fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith on Oct. 15, might fire head coach Dirk Koetter at the end of the season, according to local reports, and can’t settle on a starting quarterback 12 weeks into the season.
Koetter has benched quarterback Jameis Winston once and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick twice. Koetter goes back and forth between them because each throws interceptions. Winston has thrown 11. Fitzpatrick has thrown 12. In contrast, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has thrown two.
Winston will start Sunday against the 49ers. If he struggles, Fitzpatrick could finish the game.
The Buccaneers seem like a typical bad team.
But they’re not. They’re three-point favorites this Sunday and pose one monster challenge.
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