The unbeaten Denver Broncos (3-0) travel to the Sunshine State as they battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) in inter-conference action Sunday. The game kicks off at 4:05 pm ET from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Regional television coverage for the contest is provided by CBS. The latest line for the game shows the Broncos as a 3 point favorite with the over/under set at 43 points.
Denver remained unbeaten as they knocked off the Bengals 29-17 on the road last week. Tampa Bay lost their second straight with a 37-32 loss to the Rams at home last week. This is the ninth all-time meeting between the franchises. Denver holds a 6-2 advantage in the series and won the last three. That includes a 31-23 win at home on December 2, 2012 in the last meeting. Tampa Bay last won in the series on September 26, 1999, when they took a 13-10 win at home.
Denver is 20th in the league in passing offense with 242.7 yards per game. The Broncos are 14th in rushing with 111.3 yards a game. Denver is 4th in scoring offense with a 28 point per game average. The Broncos are tied for 8th in scoring defense by allowing 19 points a contest. Trevor Siemian has Broncos fans forgetting all about Peyton Manning. He is 63 of 94 for 756 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. C.J. Anderson (203 rushing yards, 2 TD, eight receptions, 70 yards, TD) is the feature back on the ground. Rookie Devontae Booker (62 yards, two catches, 22 yards) can contribute if Anderson needs a breather.
The Broncos receivers are going to test Tampa Bay’s defense. The Buccaneers allow 272 yards a game through the air and a 105.5 passer rating to opposing QBs. Demaryius Thomas (15 receptions, 238 yards, TD) and Emmanuel Sanders (17 grabs, 205 yards, 2 TD) are as good a 1-2 combination as there is in the league. They were vocal about getting the ball more and Siemian delivered last week. It’s hard to see Alterraun Verner and Brent Grimes keeping the duo in check. Brandon McManus is seven of eight on extra points and five of six on field goals with a long of 43 yards.
Tampa Bay is 6th in the league in passing with an average of 297 yards a game. The Buccaneers are tied for 23rd in rushing with 86 yards per game. Tampa Bay is 16th in scoring offense with 23.3 points per contest. The Buccaneers are dead last in the league in scoring defense as they allow 33.7 points a game. Jameis Winston is 86 of 142 throwing for 929 yards with eight touchdown passes. He’s also tossed six interceptions. The run game hasn’t contributed much. Charles Sims leads the team with 88 rushing yards and a score. He’s filling in for the injured Doug Martin, who has 85 yards on 25 carries.
The Buccaneers have some big receivers, which will test Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib in the Denver secondary. Mike Evans (21 receptions, 309 yards, 3 TD) leads the NFC in receptions as September came to a close. Adam Humphries (18 catches, 201 yards) is developing into a solid receiving threat. Sims has 12 grabs out of the backfield while Vincent Jackson (nine receptions, 99 yards) is still productive as an older veteran. The Buccaneers deal with a Denver defense that allows just 306 yards per game. Denver allows only 174.3 yards per game through the air and limits opposing QBs to a 66 passer rating. Tampa Bay is second worst in the league in takeaway/giveaway with a -6. Only the Jets at -8 are worse than the Buccaneers. That doesn’t bode well here.
Denver’s defense is brutal on opposing offenses. The Broncos have a dozen sacks and Tampa Bay will have a hard time keeping Winston upright. Siemian should exploit the weak Buccaneers’ pass defense with Thomas and Sanders having big games. The Buccaneers will get their shots but Tampa Bay doesn’t have the ability to hang with the Broncos. Turnovers doom the Buccaneers in this contest as Denver gets the win and goes to 4-0. Check back often for all your free NFL picks!
The Broncos are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win. Denver is also 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Buccaneers are 18-41-1 ATS in their last 60 home games. Tampa Bay is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.