Speaking to reporters ahead of their matchup, Evans said he forgot about an offseason tweet saying that Allen wasn't on his level as a receiver:
"I forgot about that. No, Keenan, that's my boy. He thinks he's one of the best receivers in this league and he should. He's a really great player. I like his game a lot. He's a dog out there too. He's a little smaller than me, but he'll be out there blocking and he plays real tough. Hopefully, we can shut him down and get a W."
When the NFL 100 rankings were released in July, the Bucs' duo of Evans (No. 30) and Chris Godwin (No. 38) came in well ahead of Allen (No. 77).
Allen took exception to the ranking, leading to this exchange on social media:
On a statistical level, Allen and Evans were close last year. The Bucs star had 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns on 67 receptions in 13 games; Allen finished with 1,199 yards and six touchdowns on 104 receptions in 16 games.
Tampa Bay's offense was more conducive to putting up big numbers. Bruce Arians' system utilizes deep passing, though Jameis Winston made things difficult with 30 interceptions. However, one could argue Winston also aired it out perhaps more than any other QB, leading to gaudy receiving numbers for Evans and Godwin (86 receptions, 1,333 yards, nine TDs in 14 games).
Philip Rivers wasn't much better for the Chargers in 2019. His 20 interceptions were the third-most in the NFL, behind Winston and Baker Mayfield (21), and he also didn't as routinely launch it deep like Winston.
After airing their grievances online during the summer, Evans and Allen can prove who is the better receiver—at least for one day—Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.