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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs and Cardinals headed for score-fest Sunday?

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs have been getting into shootouts. Not the bad kind that shows up on the nightly news, but the good kind that shows up on ESPN.

Unfortunately, the Buccaneers have been on the losing end of these battles. The offense has been putting up a decent amount of points, but the defense has been a complete let-down. Most recently, they lost in OT to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, 40-34.

You have to think that Jameis Winston’s future will be in question if they can’t rebound starting this week and put together a winning season. Bruce Arians will get a pass, since it’s his first year in Tampa and they expect some transitional adjustments … but Winston was the Top Draft pick in 2015 and in a lot of ways has just been an endless series of disappointment.

That said, he did step up and play quite well with over 300 yards and three more TDS in the Buccaneers OT loss to Seattle.

Obviously, four straight losses are concerning … Winston’s outlook on glasses of water is also concerning.

“I mean, the glass is always full … you know, half-full of water … and the other half is full of air … so … I guess that means he has a positive outlook for the rest of the season.”

Let’s just hope that Winston and his glass aren’t full of hot air.

Ok. On to Week 10. The Bucs are finally favorites again at the best betting sites.

Arizona Cardinals Versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs are favorites at home against the Arizona Cardinals. It originally opened with a line of 5.5 points but has since been bet down a full point to -4.5. The Total Score was originally set with an OVER/UNDER of 54 but has also dropped a little, down to 52.

The Cardinals are having a horrendous season. However, they did surprisingly well against a tough-as-nails 49ers squad on TNF. The Cardinals offense put up 25 points and kept the team within a field goal in their 28-25 loss. Even with David Johnson out, the Cardinals have found a running game and put up 150+ yards in two of their last three appearances.

They recently acquired Kenyan Drake from Miami and regardless of whether or not David Johnson plays, Drake is probably going to touch the ball a lot. How effective they’ll be against Tampa Bay’s elite run defense is another question entirely?

The Bucs allow just 68.6 yards per game on the ground. This stat makes them the No. 1 rush defense in the league. The problem is the Bucs rank No. 31 in defending the pass.

That said, that number jumps to 12th in the league while at home. They also boast the No. 5 scoring offense in the NFL and a Top-10 passing game at No. 9. These stats go against Arizona’s No. 29 scoring defense and No. 29 passing defense.

Heck, they don’t even defend the run well, back at No. 25. However, they actually play better on the rad. Their rushing defense enters the Top 15 at No. 14. And both their scoring defense and run D climb a few spots to No. 22 and No. 21 respectively.

So, the Bucs have a really good chance to break that 4-loss streak against Arizona. One thing to note though, is the Cardinals have kept their games close, with the exception of the Saints. They’ve covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 outings. They covered against the Niners, and they won outright as underdogs against the Giants, the Falcons, and the Bengals.

So, this could turn into another shootout for the Bucs, if they are not careful.

That said bettors would be smart to hop on Tampa Bay to win this one, but likely stay clear of the point spread, just in case the Cardinals keep it down to a field goal loss.

But in any case, we should see the Tampa Bay losing streak end this Sunday.

The Saints on November 17 will be tough. But, if the Buccaneers start out with a win this week, they have a good chance to win five of the last six games of the season moving to 7-7 and perhaps get in conversation for second in the NFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Peter King- “Bridgewater to Tampa Bay makes sense”

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Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the start of another week, and speculation about “quarterback musical chairs” in NFL free agency continues. And a prominent NFL media member believes that current Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater might leave New Orleans and he sees a possible fit with the Buccaneers.

Peter King, now with Pro Football Talk, gave analysis on numerous quarterback situations and potential free agents to be in his Monday morning column. And, while he is not reporting that the Saints will allow Bridgewater to be a free agent and/or that the Buccaneers would be his destination, he does lay out a solid case for a marriage between the two:

Obviously, the Saints must first decide what to do with veteran Hall of Famer to be, Drew Brees, who is slated to become a free agent and cannot be franchise tagged. And, Bridgewater more than acquitted himself a year ago coming off the bench, when Brees was out with a fractured thumb. That included a four-touchdown performance in October in a a win at home against Tampa Bay.

King wrote in part, these thoughts Monday,

Teddy Bridgewater: Tampa Bay makes sense

I can hear it now: Bridgewater doesn’t have the deep arm Bruce Arians needs. I would dispute that. When Arians put Carson Palmer in the pilot’s chair in Arizona, his previous NFL yards per attempt in Cincinnati and Oakland was 7.2. Bridgewater’s career NFL yards per attempt: 7.2.

…..I noticed something with Arians this season. He defended almost every (Jameis) Winston miscue for the first three months of the season. In December, though, that changed. Tampa was 7-7 entering the last two games, both at home. In game 15, against Houston, Winston threw interceptions on two of the first five Buc snaps, and Tampa was down 10-0 after four minutes.

The Bucs lost by three. Next week: Overtime against Atlanta. First play, Winston somehow didn’t see lurker linebacker Deion Jones on tight end Cameron Brate. Pick six. “It smells as bad as it could possible smell,” Arians said after the game. The Bucs had a clear path to a redemptive 9-7 seasons, but six interceptions in the last two weeks ruined that. 

….. This is the story about Bridgewater I appreciate: After Drew Brees was lost with a hand injury in Week 2 and Bridgewater took over, Bridgewater hosted a dinner in Seattle—site of the next game—for all the offensive players, basically to say, All is not lost. We’ll be fine. Minus Brees, the Bridgewater-led Saints went 5-0.

Maybe the Bucs will think Winston deserves another chance with Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. But I won’t be surprised if they go after Bridgewater or Ryan Tannehill, the best free-agent quarterbacks on the market.”

Definitely a compelling argument, but, again, it still has to play out as to whether the Saints don’t re-sign Bridgewater and how, interested are the Bucs vs. other potential teams when the free agency mayhem begins?

As for Tampa Bay are obviously trying to decide what to do with their own free agent-to-be, Winston. As we wrote late last week, coach Bruce Arians remained non-committal on whether to bring back their starter of the last five seasons. This is mainly due to Winston’s inconsistent play, numerous interceptions and the fact the Bucs have had only had one winning season in his five years at the helm.

It this type of  “connect the dots” free agency talk will only continue to build until either Tampa Bay commits to Winston or free agency begins without the Bucs having signed Winston to a long term deal or given him the one year franchise tag. The clearest of indications that they’ve moved on and want a new QB.

And, everyone continues to wait on those decisions.

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NFL analyst- Bucs DE Shaq Barrett top player in free agency

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an amazing first season with the Bucs, defensive end Shaq Barrett is in line for a huge payday. And, a respected NFL analyst says Tampa Bay better be ready to pay, because he believes Barrett is the top free agent upcoming for the entire NFL.

Brian Baldinger, a former 12 year player and now analyst with the NFL Network, posted on social media Saturday evening what he loves about Barrett’s pass-rushing skills and then made his declaration:

There is no exaggerating that Barrett surpassed anyone’s expectations off of a one-year, modest free agent signing from the Broncos by Bucs GM Jason Licht. His four sack game in week 2 against Carolina put the entire NFL on notice.

And, Barrett continued to be a dominant pass rush force for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles the entire season. He ultimately broke Tampa Bay’s single season sack record held by Hall of Famer Warren Sapp in the final game of the season. Barrett finished with 19.5 sacks, which led the NFL.

Now, the Bucs and Licht have to decide whether they’re going to give Barrett a massive contract or perhaps, entertained putting the “franchise tag” on him to ensure that he’s one of the top five paid defensive ends in football. If Licht and the Bucs choose to do that, Barrett will be making in the neighborhood of $18-20 million per year.

One concern for the Buccaneers is that Barrett’s breakout 2019 with the 19.5 sacks is more than he had in his previous five years in Denver combined. So, naturally, there is some skepticism that he will be able to produce at that high of a level for multiple years.

Still, it’s going to take that kind average per year deal to keep him from being available via free agency for someone else to sign. And, a further benefit to the franchise tag is at the Buccaneers could always reach a long-term agreement later this off season after tagging Barrett, too.

Now, we wait to see what Tampa Bay can get done.

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