Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Kansas City Chiefs
Friday, 8/12/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV: FOX
Opening Point Spread: Kansas City -2
Current Betting Line: Tampa Bay -3
Opening Total: 34
Current Total: 32.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Tampa Bay is aiming to take another step forward after finishing 10-6 last year under third-year head coach Raheem Morris. The Buccaneers also managed to post a 9-5-2 ATS mark during the course of the 2010 season. Experts are starting to take notice in the team’s youth starting to grow up and expect at least the same amount of wins in 2011 that the squad produced last year. That certainly wouldn’t be a step back when considering last year’s Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers had the same regular season mark to end the year. Tampa Bay is also proud of tallying a perfect 7-0 ATS mark away from Raymond James Stadium last year.
The Buccaneers are expected to play starting quarterback Josh Freeman for about 20 plays tonight and big things are expected from the former Kansas State signal-caller this year. He is coming off a year of throwing for 3,500 yards and 25 touchdowns, while limiting his mistakes to just being intercepted six times. Tampa Bay’s young offensive nucleus also includes bruising running back LaGarrette Blount and wide receiver Mike Williams. It’s important to point out that the Buccaneers own a 4-1 advantage over the Chiefs in preseason play, including a 20-15 home win last year.
Kansas City also came away with a 10-6 regular season record last year, but unlike tonight’s opponent, it went on to postseason play. The Chiefs were ultimately eliminated in the Wild Card round in a 30-7 home loss to Baltimore and fans expect a repeat performance heading into the 2011 campaign. Head coach Todd Haley also enters his third year at the helm, which is another similarity between the two franchises on the football field. Kansas City improved its record by six wins from the previous year due to a punishing run game that led the NFL in rushing last year.
The Chiefs bring back the two-pronged rushing attack of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, while a new player has been brought into the fold in the backfield. Former Baltimore runner Le’Ron McClain comes in to fulfill the role of being the team’s full-time fullback, something he wasn’t completely sold on earlier in his career. “I’m ready to block and get Jamaal 1,000 yards and Thomas 1,000 yards,” stated McClain. One factor to keep an eye on tonight is the squad’s fitness, as they’ve barely worked out in pads thus far in camp and media members have taken notice.
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