Denver (3-0) at Tampa Bay (1-2)
When: Sunday, October 2nd 2016
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Time: 4:05 ET | TV: CBS
A pair of second-year quarterbacks will do battle on Sunday as Trevor Siemian and the Denver Broncos visit Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Winston was the first QB taken in the 2015 draft, but he’s being overshadowed by Siemian, who was the last one taken (7th round). Siemian played extremely well in his first road start, earning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 312 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday’s 29-17 victory at Cincinnati. It appears that Emmanuel Sanders, who had nine catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns versus the Bengals, is going to Siemian’s top target. RB C.J. Anderson has seven touchdowns (six rushing, one receiving) in his last eight games, including the playoffs. The defense is still leading the way for Denver as Von Miller leads the league with five sacks this season and had a 26-yard interception return for a touchdown in the last meeting with Tampa Bay in 2012. Denver has a second-best 12 sacks this season with six of them coming in the fourth quarter. Denver returns home next week to face Atlanta, then will play three of their next four in prime time.
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The Bucs offense broke out last week after being held in check at Arizona, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Rams in a 37-32 setback. Winston passed for a career-high 405 yards with three touchdowns including two of them to backup tight-end Cameron Brate. The 6’5″ Mike Evans reeled in a career-high 10 passes for 132 yards in the win as the Bucs recorded 30 first downs. Charles Sims had 124 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown versus Los Angeles and should get the bulk of the carries this week with Doug Martin (hamstring) expected to miss his second straight game. Slot receiver Adam Humphries had a career-high nine receptions and 100 yards as Winston appears to be spreading the ball around effectively. Tampa turned the ball over twice last week and own a minus-6 turnover ratio, which is better than only the Jets (minus-8).
The Bucs are dead last in points allowed, but around the middle of the pack in yards allowed. That tells me their offense is turning the ball over in their own territory a lot. I expected a spirited performance from Winston and company today and I feel Siemian will have his worst game to date. Most of the bets in Vegas are on Denver and the sharps like Tampa Bay.
Pick: Bucs +3