Broncos QB Trevor Siemian – Photo by: Getty Images
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) vs. Denver Broncos (3-0)
Sunday, October 2, 2016, 4:05 P.M. ET
Raymond James Stadium (65,618)
Network Television: FOX
Play-By-Play: Spero Dedes Analysts: Solomon Wilcots
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, Flagship Station (103.5 FM, 620 AM & 95.3 FM)
Play-By-Play: Gene Deckerhoff Analyst: Dave Moore Sideline: T.J. Rives
Last Game: Tampa Bay Lost vs. Los Angeles, 37-32; Denver Won at Cincinnati, 29-17
The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos come into Raymond James Stadium this Sunday, sporting a 3-0 record and one of the NFL’s most dominant defenses.
Denver, now led by rising second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian, has won eight straight games dating back to last season and looks primed for another deep playoff run. Quarterback play has been better than expected and they still have talented back C.J. Anderson carrying the load, with 203 yards through three weeks.
Overshadowing the Broncos 20th ranked offense is their seventh ranked defense – a unit led by All Pro’s Von Miller and Aqib Talib – that’s racked up five turnovers in the first three weeks and is holding opponents to an average of 178 yards through the air. This will be another steep test for Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay’s offense, which ranks sixth in passing (297 average yards) yet will likely try to establish more of a run game with Charles Sims this Sunday.
The Bucs are still trying to find their footing after losing a heartbreaker last weekend to the Rams, a game that came down to the final (controversial, see Fab 2) play. They’ll be heavy underdogs this Sunday, making a possible upset an even bigger step toward changing the culture in the locker room – the main theme of the past week following coach Dirk Koetter’s post-game statements last Sunday.
Read how the Pewter Reporters see this game playing out and share your thoughts.
PewterReport.com Publisher & Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
Football is a game of match-ups and there aren’t too many match-ups that favor the Bucs. I don’t like Broncos linebacker Von Miller versus either offensive tackle Demar Dotson or Donovan Smith. I don’t like Denver tight end Demaryius Thomas versus either safety Bradley McDougald or Chris Conte. And I don’t like Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders against any of Tampa Bay’s cornerbacks 20 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Having said that, I think the Bucs will make some strides in this game and keep it closer than some might think. I think Jameis Winston will have some success finding tight end Cameron Brate and running back Charles Sims in the passing game. Denver’s cornerbacks could smother Tampa Bay’s wide receivers this game, so this could be a game where the Bucs pick up first downs on check downs.
The Bucs need to pressure Trevor Siemian and not let him get comfortable on Sunday. Tampa Bay defensive ends Noah Spence and Howard Jones will have more opportunities to rush the passer as Denver won’t be in as many max protect situations as Los Angeles was last week. They need to come up big, and the back seven needs to come up with a couple of interceptions to give the Bucs a chance.
Beating the defending Super Bowl champions at Raymond James Stadium would be the shot in the arm this Bucs team needs, but I just don’t think Tampa Bay is there yet. The Bucs show improvement, but fall to 1-3 on the season heading into a big Monday Night Football clash in Carolina on October 10.
Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Broncos win 26-20
Reynolds’ Pick To Click: TE Cameron Brate
PewterReport.com Editor in Chief & Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
After getting burned picking the Bucs the last two weeks, I have learned my lesson! Okay, not really, however this is going to be the toughest game to date in my opinion, as the Broncos are the most complete team the Bucs will most likely face this season. While we all know how good their defense it, they also can run the ball effectively, have two terrific wide receivers and a young quarterback who is managing the offense for head coach Gary Kubiak efficiently.
I think the Bucs can keep the game fairly close, at least early, but must avoid the turnover issue they have had all season long. I expect the Broncos corners to challenge the receivers with tight coverage and Jameis Winston will need to be considerably more accurate than he has been over the last two games. If not I could see former Buc Aqib Talib high stepping one back for a pick-six.
If the Buccaneers were at full strength, or if this game was later in the season, I would consider taking Tampa Bay. The Bucs must hope they play a clean game, along with the Broncos making some mistakes, and pray the guys in the dark-colored jerseys coming from the high altitude out west struggle with the Tampa heat.
Right now, at this point in the season, the Broncos are the better team and I expect them to pull away late.
Cook’s Score Prediction: Broncos win 31-21
Cook’s Pick To Click: DT Gerald McCoy
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Eric Horchy
Going into this game with confidence that the Bucs exit it with a win is, let’s say, challenging.
Before getting too pessimistic, some positives that play into Tampa Bay’s favor: home-field advantage, defense facing an inexperienced quarterback, offense top 10 in yards per game.
Missing a thing or two? Maybe. But face it, the arrow points Denver’s way in most matchups right now. Tampa Bay may need this game more as a 1-2 squad preparing for consecutive games against last year’s Super Bowl participants, but until the Bucs show that sense of urgency on the field I’m not convinced much is turning around in 2016.
The same, depleted team that found itself trailing by 11 in the fourth quarter at home last Sunday against the Case Keenum-led Rams is going up against the undefeated, defending Super Bowl champions.
That’s what I see right now.
Praise is starting to flow toward first-year starting quarterback Trevor Siemian after enjoying something of a coming-out party last week at Cincinnati. While the second-year signal caller from Orlando is only averaging 31.3 pass attempts per game, he’s completing 67 percent of his throws and owns a 95.9 passer rating. Making life a little easier for Siemian is having targets like wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas to count on.
It would be easy to say the defensive key is to bottle up running back C.J. Anderson and make Siemian prove what he’s got. But that’s what the Bengals did and it resulted in a 12-point loss at home. The best way to rattle a young quarterback – or at least a good place to start – is to literally rattle him. Get in the backfield and put him on his back a few times. But the Bucs’ pass rush is once again an element that exists in theory only.
A Week 2 whooping isn’t on the horizon, but a double-digit loss that begins to slip away in the third quarter? That seems likely.
Horchy’s Score Prediction: Broncos win 30-16
Horchy’s Pick To Click: DT Gerald McCoy
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Zach Shapiro
Like many, I suggested last week that if Tampa Bay lost to the Rams it was staring 1-4 in the face. Not to overreact, but taking on both Super Bowl contenders in back-to-back weeks is a tall order for any team, let alone a young team trying to string wins together and change a losing culture.
While I believe Tampa Bay’s offense – behind franchise QB Jameis Winston, WR Mike Evans and a solid O-Line – is extremely promising, I don’t believe they’ll be able to score enough points this Sunday against arguably the NFL’s best defense.
Defensively – where Tampa Bay needs the most improvement – another week without DE Robert Ayers doesn’t bode well, especially considering Mike Smith’s desire to send more pressure packages. To do that, the Bucs will need to get the Broncos in third-and-long situations, and from there rely on Will Gholston and Howard Jones and unproven rookie Noah Spence to rush the passer. All three have great potential, but it’s hard at this point to predict they’ll be able to match the production of Von Miller and Shane Ray, who have a combined eight sacks this season.
The matchup seems favorable – Tampa Bay’s emerging offense against the Broncos experienced defense and the Bucs struggling defense against Denver’s unproven offense – but the Super Bowl Champions know how to win. The Broncos pick up their fourth in a close one.
Shapiro’s Score Prediction: Broncos win 31-27
Shapiro’s Pick To Click: DE Noah Spence
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: [email protected]
This is going to come down to our defense. If we can get some sacks and interceptions and maybe a fumble or two, we can win this game. But if they have all day to throw, they will tear us apart. Winston will have a good game, Sims has to produce some yards on the ground.
I’m drinking a big ole glass of kool aid and predicting an upset of monumental proportions.
Noah gets 3 sacks.
Vernon gets 3 picks.
Evans gets 3 TDs.
BUCS win 28 to 21.
Love me some kool aid.
GO BUCS. STILL LOVE YA
I think your drinking more then Kool aid!!!! I like your optimism though. .
We are NOT 1-3 … yet.
I never pick against the Bucs. But that isn’t to say that I think they’re going to win either. Out of extreme diehard loyalty, I’m in it to win it every time. It’s a Bucs Life! lol.
I post this morning to give hope to those like me who think that we have a chance to win, that you’ve not entirely lost your mind. There are other well respected NFL analysts who believe the same. I offer some consolation or you may think of it as misery loves company!
Tim Colishaw/Dallas Morning News
We have to remember that at any point in the Buc’s history, we didn’t have that X-factor like we have now. Yes, they are a longshot this weekend, but it’s Jameis vs. a rookie QB… and one of the top teams in football, but… you never know. I think that Jameis is going to deliver some amazing victories in the coming years for the Bucs. There is no reason to think that he couldn’t summon some of that magic this weekend and put himself back into the national conversation as one of the future stars of this league. And on a side note; I hope they go with the home unis for the first time this year. Break out the “Tiger” red for victory on Sunday!
Sooner or later we have to beat a good team; I’m hope it’s now! Go Bucs!
Well, with last Sunday’s disappointing showing still bothering most fans, certainly me, it’s time to move on. The Buccaneers need a signature game to turnaround the terrible home record of recent seasons and the cloud of negativity which has returned so early in the season.
This is a chance for the Buccaneers to turn things around in a big way, really an opportunity! So if they have practiced well all week and believe in themselves, if they can do their jobs on defense and finally figure out what Mike Smith wants them to do?
Sure they’ve got a chance. There is ALWAYS a chance!
So I’ll be there hoping and cheering. And BTW? Hearing talk of a large Broncos fan base will put attendence over last weeks. What a pile of CRAP! Because it won’t be people from Denver who are there and it won’t be fans who moved here recently. It will be local front running “fans” wearing Von Miller Jerseys! Losers who had no interest in the team until they won a Super Bowl. Whatever. It is indeed, a Bucs Life.
Well said Garv. Exactly my sentiments. Let’s hope the Broncos, who stole our defense’s Orange Crush nickname nearly 40 years ago, will be as overconfident as their pompous fans are likely to be.
Yikes!, Demaryius Thomas is a wide receiver
Julius Thomas, former Denver tight end, was traded to Jacksonville on 2015
*Denver runs alot of 3rd down draws and will expose bust No-Where spence run defense.
Me thinks LSD might be in that kool aid, cause you guys are trippin! lol. Oh I’m so hopeful, at least I won’t be disappointed if we lose. Nothing I’ve seen so far makes me think we can win. That said, if Jameis, and the Bucs have some Ali in them, it’s time to shock the world!
I’m thinking more like 34-12, we miss a FG and extra point. One if their TDs is a INT return by… Yup, Talib. Hope I’m waaay off but I’m feeling pretty pessimistic. God Bucs!
Seen nothing last couple games to encourage really. Turnovers will continue. 34-20 Broncos. 1 0r 2 Missed fg’s and an extra point sounds about right. Defense will struggle mightily again. They will run ball on is too I think.
No pass rush and no running game equal a loss. I expect McCoy to be a complete non-factor as well as the linebackers. 38-13 Broncos, the Buccaneers defense gives up midway through the 3rd quarter and the kicker misses an extra point and at least 1 FG.
Turn off the pink, please. It’s obnoxious.
Bookies are with us. Lets do this.
When you talk about denvers defense, you should mention wayne philips. 1 of the best in the biz. Seen everything before and will not be surprized with whatever koetter shows
We have to be lucky. Clean game from jaboo, we win
Tampa +3 is a lock
I like the Bucs in this one, 31-28.
I always think the Bucs “can win” and realize that after 40 years of following this team, even against supposedly lesser opponents, the Bucs “can lose.” I had an uneasy feeling last week that if the Rams got some early momentum and the Bucs fragile psyche was given reason to crack, things just might go bad for us.
This week is different. I suspect the Broncos, who are on their second road trip in a row, just might arrive just a tad fatigued and overconfident while our mighty Bucs just might have greater inspiration to, as we used to say in the 60’s, “Let it all hang out” against the defending champion.
The stadium will no doubt have so many horse heads on display it will seem like a Godfather movie. As Garv noted, many Bronco fans will be the front-runners living nearby, who will come to the game just to rub it in the face of their neighbors. While it has been rare over the past 4 decades, victory has always been sweeter when the mass of opposing fans wishes they had just gone to Busch Gardens for their mini-vacation.
If the Bucs can somehow sneak up on the Denver team, Bronco fans who actually live in Colorado can always pull out their stash and burn one to ease the pain of losing to what they believe are the lowly Buccaneers.
Scubog I want to think that way but can’t. While I think there is a chance this game could be closer than most predictions, don’t see Bucs winning. Wish I could see it but I’ve learned over last decade don’t set myself up for disappointment. I’ll be there having good time with my low expectations, sweating my ass off cheering (and some booing) lol, but I’m not switching my football pool pick to Bucs this week! I picked Bucs against against hapless Rams offense at home last week. Lesson learned.
Just me but I NEVER bet against the Bucs, not in survivor pool or any other pools, Just won’t do it. And these “fantasy” guys that are reading their stats during the game and rooting for some players against the Bucs? Do not get that nor do I ever want to.
Old School Buccaneers fan.
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