TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-0) VS. PITTSBURGH STEEELRS (0-1-1)
WHEN: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 8:15 P.M. ET
WHERE: RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM (65,618)
NETWORK TELEVISION: ESPN
PLAY-BY-PLAY: JOE TESSITORE ANALYST: JASON WITTEN FIELD ANALYST: BOOGER MCFARLAND SIDELINE: LISA SALTERS
NATIONAL RADIO: WESTWOOD ONE
PLAY-BY-PLAY: KEVIN HARLAN ANALYST: KURT WARNER SIDELINE: ED WERDER
BUCS RADIO: 98ROCK, FLAGSHIP STATION (WXTB-97.9 FM)
PLAY-BY-PLAY: GENE DECKERHOFF ANALYST: DAVE MOORE SIDELINE: T.J. RIVES
LAST GAME: TAMPA BAY WON VS. PHILADELPHIA, 27-21; PITTSBURGH LOST VS. KANSAS CITY, 42-37

PewterReport.com Publisher & Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
The Buccaneers are for real. This 2-0 start is not a fluke. Tampa Bay has beaten two quality teams due to the strength of its prolific offense and an improving defense. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is off to a record start and has keyed the Bucs’ wins at New Orleans and against Philadelphia, the defending Super Bowl champions. Hot starts have played a big role and I look for that to continue on Monday Night Football, especially against a Pittsburgh defense that looks mortal and don’t resemble the Blitzburg defenses of years ago.

The key to the Bucs’ hot start offensively has been the protection upfront – and not just from the team’s improved offensive line. The tight ends and running backs have made the correct blitz pick-ups and executed flawlessly. That will be important on Monday night as receivers DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin could take advantage of the Steelers’ porous secondary.

Conversely, I expect Pittsburgh to create mismatches by trying to line up Antonio Brown on rookie cornerback Carlton Davis, who could have trouble keeping up, and putting a bigger, more physical wide receiver like JuJu Smith-Schuster on a smaller cornerback like Brent Grimes, who returns from a groin injury. Look for Monday’s match-up to feature plenty of points in a high-scoring affair, but the Bucs prevail by a field goal to improve to 3-0.

Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Bucs 34, Steelers 31
Reynolds’ Pick To Click: WR Mike Evans

PewterReport.com Editor & Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
This team can’t really start 3-0 can they? I mean so many pegged them 0-3, coaches fired and another disaster of a season. And the wheels could still fall off of this bus. But there is just a different type of vibe around this team. In the locker room, in the building and on the streets, for the first time in a long time people are beginning to believe this group of Bucs are different than teams of old. Potential meeting success. Can they keep it up?

The Steelers are a dangerous team. Disarray all around, players spouting off, staying home, and just a general dysfunctional group right now. But this is a veteran team with a veteran coach led by a veteran quarterback. And they are underwhelming big time and if they are to turn their season around it has to start on Monday night. I would actually feel more comfortable if the Steelers were 2-0 coming into this game.

Still here is an opportunity for the Bucs to prove they are a different team than we have seen in year’s past. A legit playoff contender, not just a tease like we saw in 2010 and 2016.

This game has all indications it will be a track meet and the team who holds the ball last will win. And that very well could be the case with two of the best QBs in the NFL from a statistical standpoint. There are offensive weapons all around and two defenses with a lot to prove. I see the Bucs squeaking one out, and the defense having a late game stand to preserve the win. Of course it very well could be the exact opposite, with the Steelers getting a close win. Either way, if you are looking for a low-scoring, defensive battle, you probably won’t get it on Monday night.

Fitzmagic continues, Chandler Catanzaro misses and an extra point again, but Brent Grimes seals the game with a late interception and the Bucs walk off the field 3-0.
Cook’s Score Prediction: Bucs 33, Steelers 31
Cook’s Pick to Click: Brent Grimes

PewterReport.com Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema
The last time the Buccaneers started a season off 2-0, I was starting my freshman year of college (2010), having the pleasure of watching Josh Freeman and Raheem Morris present fool’s gold to all of us in the form of a 10-6 season.The last time they went 3-0 to start a season? I wasn’t even in high school (2005).

Safe to say the Buccaneers have the chance to do something they don’t get to do very often with a 3-0 start in sight. However, when the Steelers roll into town, Tampa Bay will also have to do something that not many teams in the NFL hav done very often in general, and that is beat the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin is 12-2 in MNF games, which is the second highest winning percentage behind John Madden. Though this current Steelers team isn’t as strong as some of those that have garnered those 12 primetime victories in the Tomlin era have been, this is a team that will be ready for the spotlight in every way they can be.

But I don’t think it will be enough.

Yes, I am predicting that the Buccaneers win this one again in shootout fashion. This Bucs offense is clicking in every way it can, and I really don’t see how many teams in the NFL can keep up, especially with a team that is as weak in coverage as the Steelers are. Without Ryan Shazier anymore, the Steelers’ linebacker group leaves much to be desired in coverage, because of that, look for Cameron Brate to have a handful of catches in this one, and expect a good dose of O.J. Howard, as well.

As long as Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzaptrick is in the same realm of accuracy he’s been in the past two week, Bucs win this one.
Sikkema’s Score Prediction: Bucs 38, Steelers 21

Sikkema’s Click-to-Pick: Bucs TE O.J. Howard

PewterReport.com Intern Taylor Jenkins
When the Steelers come to Tampa on Monday night to face the Buccaneers, the world will see Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ben Roethlisberger, the league’s two top passers as far as yards are concerned, face off.

For the Bucs this is largely uncharted territory, seeking their first 3-0 start since 2005.

The Steelers come in at 0-1-1 and officially in desperation mode. This isn’t a franchise that is used to losing, but despite the way Bucs’ players have talked about them this week, this isn’t your dad’s Steelers.

The 2018 Steelers team we’ll see are beginning an era of turnover. They’ve got a coach that’s lost his locker room, if you listen to the media, a defense that sometimes resembles a roll of Charmin more than a steel curtain, a quarterback on the brink of retirement and a game-changing running back that refuses to join the team.

With that said, that aging quarterback is still averaging 393.5 passing yards per game with a good offensive line and two wide receivers, in Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who will likely have their way with the Bucs’ young and injured secondary, even with the return of Brent Grimes.

I think that this game has the utmost potential to be yet another high-scoring game where the Bucs will be forced to really put pressure on Big Ben and keep the Steelers playing catchup, regardless of how they attempt to utilize and position their cornerbacks.

That puts a focus on the Bucs’ revamped defensive line and this is their opportunity to show their full potential on a national stage. The Steelers will be without David DeCastro for the second consecutive game and if the Gerald McCoy and company can disrupt Roethlisberger with interior pressure, it’ll be hard for the Steelers to match what we’ve seen from Todd Monken and the Bucs’ offense.

My prediction has gone back and forth throughout the week, flipping between the Bucs by three here or the Steelers by four points there, but one thing I can’t see happening is either team running away with it on Monday.

Jenkins’ Scorw Prediction: Bucs 34, Steelers 29
Jenkins’ Pick-to-Click: DE Jason Pierre-Paul

PewterReport.com Intern Matt Matera
I would of been a little more worried that the Buccaneers are a bit overconfident if this game was during the Sunday slate. We all saw the viral photo of Ryan Fitzpatrick last week wearing DeSean Jackson’s clothes, Tampa Bay definitely has a cockiness to them. But alas, the game is under the bright lights of Monday night football, so everyone should be up for it.

It’s funny, if you were to say before the season that one of these teams were undefeated and the other was winless going into this game, you would have it the other way around. The circus that the Steelers have become between Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown has created locker room turmoil and affected their start. It would be easy to overlook the Steelers but the fact that they’re desperate in a must win game makes them more dangerous than ever.

The wide receivers on both teams are in for another productive night on the field. I just don’t see a way in which either secondary can limit their counterpart. Brent Grimes is making his season debut for the Buccaneers, which is a big help, but that’s not enough to stop Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster when everyone else around you is a rookie or second year player. Same goes for the Buccaneers offense. The Steelers defense got embarrassed last week and will surely make changes. I can see them stopping one of the Bucs receivers, but again, how do you stop all of them?

Tampa Bay has struggled to run the ball thus far this season while Pittsburgh hasn’t lost a beat with James Conner taking all the carries. I’m looking to see the Buccaneers improve on that this week. I’m not saying Fitz Magic is done with but it’s tough to ask him to keep producing statistics that are out of this world, so look for an increase in the run game.

The Bucs defense had a rough time stopping the run against the Eagles last week letting touchdown runs of 15 and 20 years but actually were able to limit the Saints to 43 yards despite letting up 40 points. When it came to sacks, it was that Saints game where they couldn’t get to the quarterback and the Eagles game where they constantly pressurized the Nick Foles and got three sacks on him. Which defensive line shows up against Conner and Big Ben on Monday night?

This game could quite certainly come down to who has the ball last. Whichever defense can actually get a stop or two may actually be all the difference in it. I’m expecting another high scoring contest, and because the Steelers are desperate with their backs against the wall, I think they edge this one out to keep their season alive.

Matera’s Score Prediction: Steelers 34, Bucs 31
Matera’s Pick-To-Click: Peyton Barber

Share On Socials

About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
Subscribe
Notify of
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Buc76
Buc76
3 years ago

You guys need to use spell check. Predicyions?????….come one have some pride in your work. Very weak!

BucRy
BucRy
Reply to  Buc76
3 years ago

Lol then you went ahead and spelled out come one instead of come on

Rob
Rob
Reply to  Buc76
3 years ago

Oh the irony of this post. Absolutely amazing. This should be on that ESPN segment, “Come One, Man!” 🤣🤣

TheCodeGuy
TheCodeGuy
Reply to  Rob
3 years ago

It’s in the source code genius. Probably done in WordPress. Just a typo

BucWonder
BucWonder
3 years ago

“come one”? People who live in glass houses…

thewbacca
thewbacca
3 years ago

I see this as a close game. Because of that, it will be a good test to see if the Bucs are contenders this year – because the best teams figure out how to close in the end. Regardless of the QB situation, a winning strategy is more important than which of these 2 QB’s is under center. If Tampa makes the right adjustments at halftime to mitigate weaknesses and exploit opportunities, makes the right special teams calls, has the right 3rd and 4th down play calls, manages the clock and time outs, then I like their odds. I don’t… Read more »

Horse
Horse
3 years ago

Very close with lots of mistakes. Bucs win.

Mike Wright
Mike Wright
3 years ago

Shame on Intern Matt for picking them Steelers!!! But he has his opinions too. This will be a tough game for us though. Our Offense will score. Big Ben is a problem. He’s tough to bring down and makes good things happen when he scrambles. Bucs defense is gonna have to be quick and persistent. The Steelers are both mad and fired up. They will be ready. I just think THE FORCE is with us. 38-28 BUCS.

seat26
seat26
3 years ago

Bucs lose in a close game. Corners have a learning experience. 28 Steelers 24 Bucs.

revfish
revfish
3 years ago

At what point do people have the guts to predict a Buccaneers blowout. Don’t forget, Scot is predicting that we lose to the Bears next week of all things. Bucs 38, Pittsburgh 21

grafikdetail
3 years ago

win or lose, this game will let me know what we have in this team… past teams consistently never showed up for these big nationally televised games, especially Monday Night Football

jiggyjoe
jiggyjoe
3 years ago

If the Bucs can beat the Saints, they can beat the Steelers by a touchdown.

Steelers 28
Bucs 35

seat26
seat26
3 years ago

If Bucs win this game, everything changes in Tampa. Winston probably does not come back this year barring an injury, and Bucs would become the favorite to win the Division. And Ticket prices will probably go up and get harder to buy.

scubog
scubog
3 years ago

I predict there will be thousands of our season pass members sitting at home and bars after selling their tickets and we “homers” will be surrounded by Steelers fans, most of whom live right here. As for the results of the game. Neither team is defending the pass very well. Thus, we sure won’t be playing Dungy Ball in spite of his presence. With so many passes, the game will go on until Wilson Pickett sings Midnight Hour. If our “new and improved” defensive line can get to Big Ben and our “youngry” secondary can hold up a second or… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
3 years ago

All NFL games are a crapshoot as far as predictions go … this one more than most. Both teams are playing very unlike their respective histories and reps so far this season. Certainly the Steelers could be playing dead like the proverbial possom, only to arise and become the Steelers of 12-2 on MNF. Bucs fans and NFL analysts are all wondering what happens to the Cindarella offense under a very un-Fitz like Fitzeralla when the clock strikes midnight. Or maybe it’s all for real. After just two games, nobody really knows which two teams will show up tonight. Here’s… Read more »

Dude
Dude
3 years ago

Oh ye of little faith. I think we are going to see our defense rise to the occasion and shock the world with a couple of key turnovers and big plays on their way to playing a very impressive game. While our offense continues to roll on down the track they have been on this season. Big Ben has a bad night, Antonio Brown loses it on the sidelines, and the Steelers implode on MNF. The Buc win big, 42-17 is the final score! Go Bucs!