The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) have a big test against the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) in Week 10.

That’s because the Seahawks are one of the more well-rounded teams in the NFL. Sure, Geno Smith and the offense are balling out, but it’s the Seahawks defense that has really played a big role over the last month or so.

And even though the Buccaneers showed some signs of life against the Rams, there’s no way anyone in pewter and red should take this week’s matchup lightly.

Case-in-point: The Seahawks defense allowed an average of 30.8 points per game over the first five weeks of the season, which was the second-most points allowed during that span.

Since their Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints, opposing offenses average just 16.5 points per game and no team has scored more than 23 points in a single contest. The aforementioned average is the third-lowest mark in the NFL since Week 6.

In just a matter of weeks, the Seahawks defense has gone from one of the league’s worst to to one of the league’s best.

“It’s taken time and the time has been well worth it for us,” Pete Carroll told reporters Thursday. “We’ve come around so well [and] so quickly. We were off to a lousy start, we weren’t functioning well. We weren’t doing anything the way we want to do it. In the last month, it’s turned and it’s turned in all the key areas.”

And there are multiple reasons why.

“Rushing the passer has been a big deal,” said Carroll. “Taking the football away from our opponents has been a huge deal. Cutting down explosive plays [has been] huge [and] third downs [have been] better. Every aspect of what we’re doing has just jumped ahead.”

Buccaneers Seahawks
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense better be ready for a tough battle against a thriving Seahawks defense. Mandatory credit: Michael Longo/For USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

Carroll’s insight is spot-on. The ‘Hawks are tied for the league lead in sacks per game, are fourth in total turnovers forced per game, and opponents have converted third downs at the sixth-lowest rate since Week 6.

The Seahawks’ front seven has 41 pressures over the last four weeks despite blitzing just 15 times. Seattle’s 10.3 pressures per game are the fifth-most during this span. The pass rush comes from all directions, too, as 10 different players share the team’s 18.0 combined sacks. Uchenna Nwosu, one of the more underrated free agent signings of the offseason, leads the way with 5.0 sacks and eight quarterback hits.

As we all know, getting home with four and playing coverage on the back end is the recipe for beating Tom Brady, which is what the Seahawks plan to do this week in Munich.

“For us, you wanna be on your p’s and q’s, for sure,” defensive back Quandre Diggs said Thursday. “I think any week you wanna have rush and coverage, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing against because all quarterbacks are good.

“This week, I don’t think you change anything. I think you just lock in, you focus, and you just do what we’ve been doing the last four weeks and everything will take care of itself.”

Diggs’ secondary has held up their end of the bargain. The unit is tied for allowing the third-fewest touchdowns per game (one) and has held quarterbacks to the seventh-lowest QB rating over the last four weeks (81.8).

And to top it all off, the run defense is top-10 in DVOA.

In other words: Yep, this is a complete defense.

Offense sells tickets and makes headlines, but it’s still defense that wins championships in the NFL. And, the Seahawks have a thriving defense that is playing like an elite unit.

Whether or not the Buccaneers offense thrives on Sunday remains to be seen, but it’s certainly safe to say the Buccaneers will remain winless in Europe if it doesn’t.

Featured image via Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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