One of the most intriguing games on the NFL's schedule in Week 1 is the matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets.
Even though Mark Sanchez outplayed Geno Smith in the preseason, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg reportedly wants the rookie to start in Week 1 even if Sanchez is fully healthy, as noted by NFL.com's Ian Rapoport:
Neither player has looked capable of winning many games, which might be why the team is ready to roll the dice with Smith.
Darrelle Revis, along with Dashon Goldson and rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks, should help Tampa Bay improve upon its league-worst pass defense from a year ago.
Here's what you need to know about the upcoming Buccaneers-Jets matchup.
When: Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 39.5 pts.
- Spread: New York (+3.5)
Buccaneers Injury Report (via NFL.com)
Jets Injury Report (via NFL.com)
|Mark Sanchez||QB||right Shoulder||Out|
How Will Geno Smith Fare in His 1st NFL Start?
Nobody can question Smith's ability to throw the ball, and he's an underrated athlete who can make big plays with his legs under pressure. If properly developed, the rookie out of West Virginia has the potential to become an excellent NFL quarterback.
However, coming out of a spread offense that was predicated mostly on short timing patterns and screen passes, Smith isn't a polished passer. From my observations during the scouting process, it was clear that he struggles to read the field and tends to lock on to his first read.
In limited action this preseason, Smith did nothing to change my mind.
Smith was easily baited into throwing three interceptions in the third game, and he infamously stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter before getting pulled.
He'll likely struggle badly in his first start against a talented Tampa Bay defense.
The Buccaneers feature a strong offensive line and a running game led by second-year stud Doug Martin—a player many people are expecting to carry their fantasy football teams. The Bucs also possess a strong front seven that is particularly dominant against the run and a vaunted secondary, as was earlier discussed.
New York's young defense is loaded with talent, and Rex Ryan will have his players in position to make big plays.
Unfortunately for the Jets, the team's offense is frightfully short on talent.
Tampa Bay should come away with a big road win to start the season and make things interesting in the highly competitive NFC South.
Buccaneers 24, Jets 14
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