Tampa Bay at Minnesota
Time: NOON (CT), FOX
Spread: TAM -3
Odds c/o Bovada.lv
The Tampa Bay Bucs won its delayed season-opener in Week 2 over the Chicago Bears 29-7. Week 1 saw Hurricane Irma give the Buccaneers a bye week, which while placing considerable stress on the team later in the season will give it fresher legs as it travels to faceted Minnesota Vikings in Week 3. The Buccaneers are 3-point favorites this week at Noon (CT) on FOX, with an over/under set at 39.5 points by NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker Bovada.
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Tampa Bay’s defense was sensational last week against a bewildered and struggling Bears offense. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston threw for 204 yards and a TD, as the Bucs had little problem disposing of one of the NFL’s worst teams. While Chicago’s Mike Glennon did amass 301 yards, the Bears QB threw two interceptions and Chicago managed only 20 rushing yards in the game, as Tarik Cohen was shut down as a backfield option and limited as a receiver, as well (55 receptions yards on eight catches). The Bears averaged just 1.3 yards per rush attempt and failed to record a run longer than nine yards.
Tampa Bay’s defense had 8.5 tackles for loss, one sack and nine quarterback hits, as Lavonte David led the team in tackles (9) and seven Buccaneers recorded four tackles or more. The Buccaneers got 67 rushing yards from Jacquizz Rodgers, who also rushed for a touchdown on his 19 carries, and Peyton Barber added 47 more yards as Tampa Bay racked up 117 rushing yards on 34 total carries. It was hardly dominant, but it was much better than what the Bears did, and the game was never close with Tampa Bay leading 26-0 at the half, cruising to an easy Week 2 victory to start its season 1-0.
Minnesota is 1-1 after falling 26-9 to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Sam Bradford sat in the Week 2 loss, but his left knee does not have any structural damage and he is questionable for this week according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Obviously, Bradford’s status is of paramount importance to bettors in this game. With him available, the Vikings were strong in Week 1 when it knocked off the New Orleans Saints 29-9, but his backup is not ready for starting duties, and that was clearly evidenced last week when Case Keenum threw just 20 of 37 for 167 yards.
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Bradford was deadly accurate and potent in Week 1. He threw 27 of 32 for 346 yards and three TDs, while Dalvin Cook was more effective with him on the field. Cook rushed 22 times for 127 yards. Minnesota had 470 total yards in Week 1, even as Adam Thielen amassed 157 receiving yards on nine catches, including a long catch of 44 yards. Both he and No. 2 receiver Stefon Diggs missed only two passes between them on 16 targeted passes. The Vikings were just clicking. But without Bradford that seemingly goes out of the picture, so the Vikings quarterback’s status will likely affect this game with a lot of late line shifts.
Bears’ cornerback Prince Amukamara may debut this week, and that could change things for the Bears’ secondary which has yet to record an interception through two games. Pittsburgh’s defensive end Stephon Tuitt sat out last week with a bicep injury, and he is listed as questionable. Keep an eye on rookie LB TJ Watt. He had two sacks and an intereception in Week 1, but he left last week with a groin injury. If he is healthy, he could bolster the defense further, which ranks No. 3 in yardage allowed this season.
The Bears are trying to fortify a weak OL to get Glennon more help, and guards Kyle Long and Josh Sitton are potentially returning to help there. Bears running back Jordan Howard will need to be more effective if Chicago is to keep the Vikes’ defense guessing, as he had just seven yards last week as a total non-factor.