Looking for a sleeper division champion in the 2017 NFL season? I give you the rising Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who finished 9-7 last year but just missed out on a wild-card spot. The Buccaneers head into Cincinnati as underdogs in the betting lines, as they both open their NFL Preseason on Friday night.
Tampa Bay at Cincinnati NFL Preseason Odds & Prediction Week 1
Bucs’ First Depth ChartRunning back Doug Martin is listed as a starter on Tampa’s first depth chart despite the fact that he will miss the first three regular-season games as he serves the rest of his PED suspension. This means the Bucs are confident in his ability to bounce back and redeem himself this season. If he thrives as a starter on Friday and in the rest of the preseason games, he’ll likely keep his job when he does return to the gridiron in Week 4.One battle to watch on the team is at kicker. Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk who have been competing for a roster spot and the Bucs’ lone placekicking job. Since both kickers will get some playing time, it appears the staff hasn’t reached a verdict regarding the perhaps the most important preseason decision.The Bucs traded into the second round last year to take Aguayo, one of the best NCAA kickers ever at Florida State. The Bucs are listing Folk and Aguayo as co-starters at kicker, which indicates that there’s no clear front-runner right now. Aguayo has outperformed Folk through the first week of training camp, though.Aside from WR DeSean Jackson and first-round draft pick tight end O.J. Howard, who were shoe-ins for starting jobs, most newcomers haven’t managed to grab hold of a starting job. Howard is the only one of the Buccaneers’ 18 rookies – including six draft picks – to be listed as a starter on the season’;s first depth chart.He did not displace Cameron Brate, who caught 57 passes in 2016 and tied for the NFL lead among tight ends with eight touchdowns. Under Coach Dirk Koetter, the Buccaneers list two starting tight end positions in the absence of a fullback, and Brate occupies the other one of those two spots.
Check Out Hard KnocksYou will be able to see some parts of this preseason game next week on HBO’s Hard Knocks, which features the Bucs this year and debuted on Tuesday night. Third-year QB Jameis Winston likely will be the focal point of the show, but there are always characters who come out of the woodwork.One such guy could be LB Coach Mark Duffner. He has a loud personality and works with one of the Buccaneers’ most outspoken personalities, Kwon Alexander, every day. It will also be interesting to see Duffner’s relationship with Lavonte David and Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith.Not every NFL team enjoys being the subject of Hard Knocks, which followed the Bengals around in the 2013 training camp and preseason. In May, during the formal announcement of the Bucs’ selection for “Hard Knocks,” Koetter insisted that having all this extra attention would not be a distraction as the team works for its first playoff appearance since the 2007 season.
How Does Bengals Depth Chart Look?A few minor surprises on Cincinnati’s first depth chart. Perhaps the biggest of which is William Jackson III passing by Darqueze Dennard on the chart, though it’s probably more because the team doesn’t have a slot cornerback position on this projection. That’s the spot where Dennard likely plays this year.Second-year linebacker Nick Vigil, who has been running with the first team since OTAs, is officially designated at the starter at SAM backer, with Kevin Minter at MIKE and Vontaze Burfict at WIL.The depth chart loses credibility when looking at the running back hierarchy, which has rookie-second pick Joe Mixon fourth behind Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and Cedric Peerman, who has yet to practice in training camp. Peerman is a special teams ace, but has six carries over the last two seasons so there’s not much reason to think that this depth chart is accurate.In the same vein, Randy Bullock is listed as the starting kicker ahead of rookie fifth-round pick Jake Elliott. Mixon is third string at worst and could win the starting job by early in the season.
Tampa Bay vs Cincinnati Game History
- Total Meetings: 11
- First Meeting: October 10th, 1976. Riverfront Stadium. Cincinnati, Ohio.
- Last Meeting:
- All-Time Series: Tampa Bay 7-4-0
- Largest Margin of Victory: November 30th, 2014. Raymond James Stadium. Tampa, Florida
- Longest Win Streak: Tampa Bay 6 (1995-2010)
- Current Win Streak: Cincinnati 1 (2014)
Tampa Bay vs Cincinnati NFL Preseason Betting Trends
- Buccaneers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Buccaneers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Bengals are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.