Opening Week NFL Action: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets
Odds courtesy of Bovada
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 7-9 last year under head coach Greg Schiano, who has sought to change the losing culture in Tampa with structure and order. The team has a potent offense and a strong rush defense, but must continue to mature offensively while becoming a better defense against the pass to make the next steps and become a legit contender again in the NFC.
Offensively, the Bucs will rely heavily on running back Doug Martin. Martin attracts a lot of attention in the backfield, and the Bucs do have a strong armed QB in Josh Freeman. Freeman’s deep threats include Vincent Jackson. Between the three, the Bucs have a few solid options in a lineup that scored 389 points last season. Freeman completed just 54 percent of his passes, and he’ll have to improve that accuracy if the Bucs are going to emerge victorious in week one as NFL oddsmakers predict they will, setting the line three points in favor of the visiting Bucs.
Martin has drawn comparisons to a lot of great running backs like Edgerrin James and Eric Dickerson, and he rushed for nearly 2,000 yards, which only James and Dickerson have done as NFL rookies. Building on this success will be hard, because Martin lacks blazing speed. What he does have is a great top speed and he is quick through the hole. The whole package equates to a devastating back that the Jets will have a tough time contending with.
New York is rebuilding, but should make quick strides with second round pick Geno Smith starting at QB. Smith had a huge season for West Virginia last year in the NCAA. Smith is getting his start mainly due to Mark Sanchez going down injured, but Jets fans aren’t clamoring to see their failure back in the lineup.
Smith represents a chance at change and a glimpse of the future, while Sanchez is the remainders of a failed era. He’s out up to three weeks, but the Jets may as well just start planning for the 2014 draft because they’re not playoff bound. Even at home against another sub-.500 team, the Jets still find themselves underdogs.
UNDER 4-0 in last 4 games, 5-1 ATS in last 6 in Sept, 19-7 ATS in last 26 on turf
0-5 ATS in last 5 on turf, 0-4 ATS in last 4 at home, 1-5 ATS in last 6 overall