The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking for a breakout season, a year that puts them in the upper echelon of NFL teams. But before then, they must traverse the preseason and hopefully keep everyone healthy, because at first look, there is talent to be had on the field. Jameis Winston is seeking a kind of year that puts him in an elite category, or at least, going in that direction.
All you could ask for from Winston is to improve on his rookie season in 2015. He did just that and set himself up for what looks like a promising career. Winston avoided the sophomore slump, and hopes to stay clear of a slump in his third-year as a professional.
Winston opened his career with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions as a rookie, a good year for a first-year quarterback in the NFL. He improved on that and manufactured a solid campaign in 2017. Winston finished with 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season, and will look to continue to get another uptick on his progression graph. He is a proven commodity, so won’t see much time in the preseason, especially in Week 1. Wait for Week 3 to see Winston get some decent playing time in the preseason.
The Buccaneers didn’t reach the playoffs a year ago, but there were some promising things to take from it. Mainly, Winston and Mike Evans are going to be a dangerous tandem in Tampa for years to come. The Bucs added some more ammunition in the offseason, as they signed DeSean Jackson to give them an option to stretch the field with.
Ideally, the Buccaneers want Jackson to take attention away from Evans. Jackson still has something left in the tank, though. In his final-year as a Redskin, he hauled in 56 balls for 1,005 yards. Add a running game featuring Doug Martin, and the Bucs will be a potent offense if they can stay healthy. Martin will serve a three-game suspension to open the season because of PEDs, however.
The Buccaneers will travel to Cincinnati where a Bengals team thinks they can finally win a playoff game this year. They came oh so close two years ago against the Steelers, but the Bengals choked the game away with boneheaded penalties. Last year they failed to reach the playoffs. Andy Dalton has back under center, as he hopes to get the money off his back. We’ll break down this preseason matchup below, and hope to find another winning NFL pick on Friday.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Betting Odds:
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Buccaneers vs. Bengals Pick:
Last night we cashed a reasonably easy winner on the UNDER in Cleveland, or it seemed easy until the last 2 minutes. Kizer went deep with 2:00 left and all the Saints had to do is run the 2-minute drill to performance to ruin our pick and a Browns’ win. We survived, though, as a fumble sealed the deal. Let’s get another winning conclusion tonight, too. We’re not going to see much of Winston or Dalton, of course, but there is some experience immediately behind them.
Ryan Fitzpatrick caught on and got another job for this season, playing backup to Winston in Tampa. Fitzpatrick is not an ideal starter, but as a backup, I think he’s a fine option. He’s been through the ringer in his career, mainly as a starting option in Buffalo and NYJ. Fitzpatrick shouldn’t have problems navigating backup defenders.
Against talented starting defenses, yeah, it’s hard to have confidence in him. However, he should be able to pick a backup defense apart. Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims are competing for the starting job while Martin serves his suspension. I like those two to come out playing competitive football.
Following Fitzpatrick in the quarterback rotation will be AJ McCarron. The Bengals were recently offered a second-round pick in the draft for McCarron which was shot down. McCarron has starting experience, and many say they like him better than Dalton. He saved the Bengals’ season two years ago and just about led them to a playoff win. It wasn’t his fault the Bengal defenses gift-wrapped a win to the Steelers. He and Fitzpatrick should both find room to make plays.
Ryan Griffin will fill in for Fitzpatrick as the third quarterback. Griffin has been a preseason lifer since 2013 with the Saints. He’s fighting for a job, along with Jeff Driskel for the Bengals who will go in for McCarron. I think this bet will be won with Fitzpatrick and McCarron, though. In the preseason, you will most often find me playing totals. They are a bit easier to handicap than a side, to me anyway, in the preseason. We cashed an UNDER last night, and I look for an OVER tonight in Cincinnati.
PICK: OVER 37 (-110)