A gust of fresh air has finally overcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization. After years of frustration on offense, the team has suddenly become an offensive juggernaut. Quarterback Josh Freeman and the Bucs are doing all the right things to get the area excited about Buccaneers football again. The same maybe can’t be said for their defense, but at least the Bucs finally have an offense that they have long desired. The acquisition of receiver Vincent Jackson in the offseason has most definitely paid off for the Buccaneers in this regard. Jackson provides a weapon that the Bucs offense hasn’t had since, Keyshawn Johnson perhaps? The Buccaneers will take their high octane offense on the road to face off against another pretty good offense, the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos offense has been a surprise to many as well. Of course if Peyton Manning stayed healthy they were going to be a capable bunch, but plenty of people did not have Manning lasting this long considering the reports in the offseason regarding his surgically repaired neck. Manning has shut the doubters up in a big way, having himself an MVP type campaign. He currently has 3260 yards passing and averaging 296.4 yards a game. Manning has also dished out 26 touchdowns with 8 interceptions. While the offense went through a gelling period early in the season, the offense is currently hitting on all cylinders. They rank 4th in the NFL averaging 391.8 yards per game and totalling 28.9 points a game. Manning has the passing game as the 5th best unit in the league, passing for 287.5 yards per game. The running game leaves a lot to be desired, currently sitting in 20th position only putting up 104.4 yards per game.
I do not foresee the Broncos attacking the Buccaneers on the ground at all. They have one of the most lopsided defenses in the NFL. In this respect, they are the best defense in the NFL with respects to stopping the run, allowing only 81.5 yards a game which is good enough for 1st. The defensive line anchored by former first rounder Gerald McCoy, has them plugging holes against some of the best runners in the league. In the same token, however, they fail to get any pressure whatsoever on opposing quarterbacks. It really is that bad, as McCoy hasn’t recorded a sack in over eight games. They rank 28th in the NFL with only 18 sacks over the first 12 weeks. The pass defense, needless to say, is bad. They rank dead last in the NFL, completely flip flopped from their ability to erase the running game.
The Buccaneers’ offense has made up for the anaemic pass defense in a big way. They have the potent running game under rookie Doug Martin and the air raid on fire with Josh Freeman. They rank only 12th in terms of total yards, but they still average 28.2 points a game, only .7 behind the Denver Broncos. They have reaped the benefits of drafting Doug Martin out of Boise State, who has the running game ranked 11th best in the NFL at 121.7 yards a game. The Broncos’ defense has blossomed into one of the best in the NFL, allowing only 308.4 yards a game, good for 4th best in the NFL. The Buccaneers revamped offense will definitely be tested in this one on the road.
Buccaneers vs. Broncos Spread and Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +7 (-105)
@ Denver Broncos -7 (-115)
Over 50 (-110)
Under 50 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Buccaneers vs. Giants Pick:
With the Buccaneers lack of ability to rush the passer, this one could get ugly for the Buccaneers’ secondary. They hold the worst pass defense, and that should be showcased in full on Sunday afternoon. Manning has looked great against much better defenses this year, dicing up the Texans, Panthers, and Chargers. He should have his way against the Buccaneers which should turn into monster points for the Broncos offense in this game.
The Broncos tend to pile on the points in games when they welcome winning teams to the Mile High. In their last six games at home, the over is 6-0 in that regard. The Buccaneers love to get into shootouts and have the offense to do just that. Last week was actually the first game since week 4 that the offense hasn’t accumulated over 25 points. They were just 2 points short of accomplishing that again, falling to the Falcons 24-23. I like this one to eclipse the posted total of 50, with a lean to the Broncos.
PICK = OVER 50