With a bye week looming and the potential to fall further behind division leaders Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North, Bengal’s QB Carson Palmer has stressed the importance of beating Tampa Bay this Sunday. The surprising (2-1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers will travel north to Paul Brown Stadium to butt heads with the disappointing (2-2) Cincinnati Bengal’s, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST. The Bengals have been a hard team to gauge this year and have had to many inconsistencies from week to week. The Bucs, on the other hand, have been surprising solid and are reaping the benefits of a quick maturation process of second year pivot Josh Freeman. The Bucs have owned this head-to-head series and will look to add to it this Sunday in southern Ohio.
The Buccaneers spent their bye week analyzing a 38-13 loss to Pittsburgh in Week 3 in which they allowed former fourth-string quarterback Charlie Batch and Detroit Lions castoff to complete 70.6 percent of his passes and throw for three touchdowns. It was a wake up call game for 1st round selection DT Gerald McCoy as he was exposed negatively on several key-running plays. The Bucs will face a tough challenge this Sunday as they will need to shutdown the passing attack of the Bengals, with two huge threats in WR Chad Ochocinco and WR Terell Owens. The responsibility of stopping Owens and Ochocinco could fall on defensive backs Aqib Talib , Ronde Barber and rookie sensation Cody Grimm. The second year maturation process of QB Josh Freeman looks to be successful as the sophomore quarterback as been impressive early in this young season. He has accounted for 70 percent of Tampa Bay’s offense, averaging 181.3 yards passing and another 30.7 on the ground. Running back Cadillac Williams – expected to be a key contributor – has been ineffective with a 2.5 yards-per-carry average and no touchdowns. The Bucs will look to win Sunday and hold three victories, which will be the most victories they have had though 5 weeks since 2005.
Cincinnati amassed 413 total yards in a 23-20 loss to Cleveland last weekend after averaging 279.0 in consecutive victories. WR Terell Owens moved into second place behind Jerry Rice on the all-time list with his 222-yard performance, giving him 15,325 receiving yards, and QB Carson Palmer threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns. It was the rushing defense that was exposed last Sunday, Browns sensation RB Peyton Hillis had another career day on the ground. The Bengals will need to address this issue before trying to tame RB Cadillac Williams who has had a resurgent year. So far this season, the Bengals have been consistently inconsistent. As soon as they begin to show signs of exploding, they are plagued by miscues and stalled drives. A week ago against Cleveland, they were able to sustain at least an 8 play drive on 5 separate occasions, but these drives only yielded 13 points. A portion of this problem occurs in the red zone where the Bengals have only scored 3 touchdowns in their last 11 trips to the 20-yard line. The Bengals desperately need a win before heading into the bye week and will need to get back to hard nosed “Bengal” football in order to do so.
Buccaneers vs Bengals Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +6.5
@ Cincinnati Bengals -6.5
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Buccaneers vs Bengals Prediction for Week 5:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – I always look for teams coming off of bye weeks and teams heading into bye weeks to produce low scoring totals. Reason being, teams coming off of byes will need several series to get back into the motion of things and teams heading into byes sometimes overlook the games that they are in. The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Tampa Bay’s last 10 games, as well as going UNDER in the last 5 games they have played on the road. Cincinnati will want to exert themselves defensively heading into the bye week and there’s no other place to do it then at home in Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengal’s have played 5 games that have gone UNDER in the last 6 games at home. I look for this game to play well beneath the posted total of 38 points.
Spread Prediction – The Buccaneers are a new and revitalized football team and head coach Raheim Morris has got them playing at a high paced tempo. The Bucs have absolutely owned the Bengals as they have won the last 5 of their contests. The Bengals, on the other hand, are coming off of a tough loss to the Browns and QB Carson Palmer is not looking as if he is an elite quarterback anymore. Cincinnati is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Tampa Bay and are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games at home. The Bengals are overall 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games and I see this number becoming increasing more weak after this Sunday. We will consider taking the points and the Bucs in this affair. Cheers!
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