Predictions: Bucs lose opener to New Orleans

by Gary Shelton on September 8, 2018 · 0 comments

in College Sports in Florida, Florida State University, general, Tampa Bay Bucs, University of Florida, USF

Saturday, 2 a.m.

The odds are that Jameis Winston, watching at home, reaches for the potato chips before he reaches for the chicken wings.

The odds are that Drew Brees hits his first eight passes before the Bucs force an incompletion, although that might be conservative.

The odds are that Gerald McCoy records his first sack before Jason Pierre-Paul, but neither of them might record one.

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Odds. We are eaten up with odds. You can find odds on whether Peyton Barber gets 50 yards before Ronald Jones II gets five. You can find odds on how many offensive pass interference calls Mike Evans will draw. You can bet on how many times Earl Morrall will be brought up as a successful backup quarterback.

Frankly, though, you have to acknowledge that most of the odds are stacked against the Bucs, even though they beat the Saints on last day of the regular season last year. They’re on the road, with a backup quarterback, against a team many figure to go far in the playoffs, in the SuperDome, against Alvan Kamara and on turf.

So how will they do?

The Best of the NFL

Tampa Bay at New Orleans: Someday, 10 years from now, Drew Brees may get old. As it is, his arm isn’t the rifle it used to be. But Brees is deadly accurate, and he’ll try a deep ball two or three times. Can the Bucs’ secondary stand up? We’ll see. Can the pass rush hurry him along? We’ll see that, too. For all the attention the Bucs paid to their defense in the off-season, we’re still waiting to see the progress.

Defensively, the Saints are better than they’ve been, but the Bucs have enough weapons to score some. It’ll be interesting to see how effectively Tampa Bay can run the ball.

Prediction: New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 20

49ers at Vikings: Yeah, we all know that Jimmy Garappolo is all that and a side of fries. But Minnesota is a solid team and a sleeper pick for the Super Bowl. Plus they’re at home.

Prediction: Minnesota 30, San Francisco 20.

Houston at New England: There is a lot to like about the Texans, from quarterback Deshaun Watson to defensive lineman J.J. Watt. But a team doesn’t often blow into New England and steal one.

Prediction: New England 34, Houston 16.

Rams at Raiders: Yes, the Raiders added Jon Gruden. But the Rams seem to have a lot of momentum going. Gruden lost his first game with the Bucs. He’s liable to lose this one, too. Then he’ll trade everyone who is left.

Prediction: Rams 27, Raiders 14

Colleges

Florida vs. Kentucky: The Wildcats have lost 31 straight to the Gators, which means some coaches haven’t been alive long enough to remember a Kentucky win. It’ll happen someday, but not this week. The Gators have too much going on.

Prediction: Florida 30, Kentucky 17

USF vs. Georgia Tech: The Bulls can score, even against a Power 5 opponent. But can they stop anyone? Even against Elon last week, there were times when the running game seemed to confuse the Bulls. Can they slow the Yellow Jackets?

Prediction: USF 24, Georgia Tech 23

Savannah State at Miami: The Hurricanes should be able to ease some of the pain they suffered against LSU last week. Savannah State simply can’t match up with the athletes of the Hurricanes. This one will decide nothing.

Prediction: Miami 58, Savannah State 3

Samford at FSU: Let’s face it: Seminole Nation wants to like Willie Taggart. But last week’s lopsided loss to Virginia Tech made that difficult. FSU should win easily, but it will be like Tiger Woods playing Putt-Putt. Nothing will count.

Prediction: FSU 60, Samford 0

Air Force at FAU: A week ago, FAU was out of its depth against Oklahoma. It should not be this week. FAU can go back to dreaming that it’s one of the big boys.

Prediction: FAU 33, Air Force 20

Old Dominion at FIU: The Panthers lost to Indiana last week, which isn’t anything to take pride in. This time, they should win easily. ODU lost 52-10 to Liberty last week. Ah, the schedule makers. They give ODU Liberty, then they give them death.

Prediction: FIU 38, Liberty 16

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