Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals
October 10th, 2010 1:00 PM
Line: Cincinnati -7
The Buccaneers are 2-1 after beating the Browns and the Panthers. They were hit by a big truck marked “Reality” in their last game when they got demolished by the Steelers. The Bengals got a huge wake up call last week after losing to the Browns. They beat the Ravens in week two, but perhaps got over confident and dropped the ball against their division rival in their last outing against Cleveland. With so much uncertainty surrounding both teams, it is tough to decipher through what is real and what is a facade.
Keys to the Game:
- The Bengals didn’t have a great game last week, but their passing game is on fire. T.O. had ten catches for 222 yards and touchdown grab. I know it was against the Browns, but the Bucs defense is only a small cut above the Browns defense. The threat of Owens breaking for a 200 yard game takes some of the heat off Chad Ocho Cinco. Even though Jordan Shipley is out, the Bengals have a dangerous one two combo at receiver. It reminds me of when T.J. Houshmandzadeh was in Cincinnati. The receivers can’t both be double covered and Carson Palmer has to be loving it. He looked like he was a little more on target this last week, though he is still just a little bit off on some of his throws. Palmer is a seasoned professional. With the talent he has to throw the ball to, it won’t be long before we see him in top form.
- The Buccaneers are going to show their true colors this week. They had a bye week last week after suffering a big loss against the Steelers. Beating the Steelers would have been a telling win for the Bucs. Instead, they are at a position where they have not beaten anyone worth mentioning, but they have come away with a victory against a couple of the worst teams in the NFL. They had two weeks to prepare for the Bengals. The Bengals are a middle of the road team. If Tampa can come away with a victory, it will show they should be taken seriously. Nobody sees them making the playoffs, though going .500 would do wonders for their ball club.
- The Bengals are aggressive at linebacker, which could spell trouble for Josh Freeman. Freeman does best when he has the ability to run around. This doesn’t just mean scrambling, though it isn’t uncommon to see him run for 50 yards in a game. Freeman likes to throw the ball on the run. Giving himself time in the pocket spells disaster for opposing defenses. giving sub par receivers more time to get open is an important part of their offense. Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers are going to want to strike some fear into Josh Freeman early. Don’t be surprised if Maualuga spies Freeman, especially at first. Freeman is going to want to feel out the defense and running into Maualuga early could make him shy away from getting outside the pocket. The Bengals might not have the linebackers the Steelers do, but will suffice.
Cincinnati proved they can compete with the best teams in the league and lose to the worst teams in the league. Fortunately, this is not a division game, so a competitive advantage is not gained by the inferior team. Seven points is a pretty hefty spread, but what I saw out of the Bengals offense last week gives me no reason to think they are going to slow down against this defense. Until Tampa Bay beats someone significant, they don’t get any respect. I will write off the Bengals defeat last week as a lapse in judgment.
Free NFL Pick: Cincinnati -7