Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Week 11 preview capsules

Ravens at Cowboys, 1

Line/OU: Cowboys by 7½; 44½

Call it the Wall, or the Resistance. This Cowboys offensive line is making it simpler for Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott to thrive as rookies. With opposing pass rushes neutralized by 1,600 pounds of shove-back, the Dallas offense plays a glorified seven-on-seven practice drill — and the offense always wins when the other guys cannot touch anyone south of the scrimmage line. For all of Baltimore's stuttering, its rushing defense remains No. 1. If anyone can put a road spike in the Cowboys' running game, it is LB Terrell Suggs and friends.

Bills at Bengals, 1

Line/OU: Bengals by 2½; 47½

This is the sort of November game that separates the regular-season losers from the wild-card-round losers, which is to say Buffalo and Cincinnati are mud wrestling for the right to play a 17th game and not much else. The Bills must do to Bengals WR A. J. Green what they did to Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald: stuff him into a 60-yard carton for the day. The best way to accomplish that is to hit QB Andy Dalton before he can throw the ball to a forever-open Green.

Steelers at Browns, 1

Line/OU: Steelers by 8; 44½

Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger is 20-2 in his career against Cleveland, leaving us all demanding further evidence that those two losses did, in fact, happen. The Browns cannot find an answer to any question worth asking. They threw three QBs into the tire fire against Baltimore last week, and may as well have coaxed Bernie Kosar out of retirement. The path to 0-16 remains clear. Pittsburgh has lost four straight. That streak will be hard-pressed to survive the day.

Jaguars at Lions, 1

Line/OU: Lions by 6; 47½

All of Detroit's games have been decided by a TD or less, forcing the first-teamers to earn all four quarters of their direct deposit. With three wins in their past four games, the Lions have joined the Vikings atop the NFC North. To lose at home to Jacksonville now is to deserve an early tee time come January. The Jaguars have lost three straight in their annual quest for a top-five draft slot. When Coach Gus Bradley said, "I don't see anything in the future that shows Blake Bortles is not our guy," what did that tell you about Jacksonville's future?

Titans at Colts, 1

Line/OU: Colts by 2½; 53

Colts QB Andrew Luck has never lost to the Titans, who have taken 10 straight losses against Indianapolis, including a 34-26 kick to the thorax last month. So why worry? Marcus Mariota, that's why. He is the gilded arm behind an offense that has slapped 35-plus points on the board for three straight games, including a 47-25 pummeling of Green Bay last week. Only Tom Brady has had it better on the agate page. The Colts defense will be the tiebreaker if it can get the Mariota Turnover Factory up and running again. The Titans have won consecutive games just once since 2014, so they are due for a loss.

Cardinals at Vikings, 1

Line/OU: Vikings by 2½; 40

Because every four-game plunge needs a fall guy, the Vikings released K Blair Walsh, who missed four extra points. Minnesota has not lost any games by a field goal or an extra point, so Walsh does not account for the club's rapid descent in the NFC North. The larger blame goes to an O-line with no sense of run-blocking. The Cardinals are coming off a win-lose-tie trifecta, which is no way to keep up with first-place Seattle.

Bears at Giants, 1

Line/OU: Giants by 7½; 42½

The Giants have won four straight — all by a TD or less — and are in prime catch-up position if the Cowboys fall down an elevator shaft in the second half. WR Odell Beckham is playing hot again while keeping it cool, and his tag-team partner Victor Cruz is expected back after resting his ankle for a game. It's all bad news for the Bears, who have lost Pro Bowl RG Kyle Long to the injured-reserve list and WR Alshon Jeffery to a four-week suspension.

Dolphins at Rams, 4

Line/OU: Dolphins by 2; 39

The Rams are 2-1 in games when they do not score a TD and 2-3 in games when they do. Who can't wait to see Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick this year, take that winning script and run with it? Goff, the former Cal QB, is to make his debut after 10 weeks of the Case Keenum show. Goff's initial plans are to survive a Dolphins defense that just had four INTs against Chargers veteran Philip Rivers. Four straight wins have the Dolphins ready for a late pass in the wild-card lane.

Patriots at 49ers, 4:25

Line/OU: Patriots by 11½; 51

Want to get Tom Brady's mind off Deflategate? Ask the Patriots' QB about the 49ers' drafting Giovanni Carmazzi in 2000 — and not Brady, a bay area native. "I have different things that have motivated me at different times," Brady said. "They obviously went in a different direction." That brings us to Sunday's homecoming for Brady. The Patriots just dropped to 102-2 when leading at home in the fourth quarter. The 49ers have lost eight straight, one shy of the franchise record.

Eagles at Seahawks, 4:25

Line/OU: Seahawks by 6½; 42½

This Fight Club of a defensive game begs to be played at the demolished Veterans Stadium (1971-2004), where the artificial turf hit back, knuckles flew high and batteries flew far. Think of the Seahawks' projectile, S Earl Thomas, denting the innards of Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski last week (Gronk is out this week). Picture the Eagles defense bottling up Atlanta's offense to a season-low 15 points on the same day.

Packers at Redskins, 8:30

Line/OU: Redskins by 3; 48½

Four teams made the playoffs last season after starting 4-5. Twenty-five teams have overcome losing records through nine games to do the same since 1990. If the Packers want to join that trend, this is a good time to start. Their defense stops no one, their run game goes nowhere, and four losses in five games have coach Mike McCarthy feeling the Fahrenheit in the tundra. Redskins QB Kirk Cousins has parlayed his game-manager label into a 4-2 record against teams with winning records.

Texans at Raiders, 8:30 Monday

Line/OU: Raiders by 6; 46

Second regular-season game ever in Mexico City and first since 2005. Houston's Brock Osweiler averaging league-low 5.6 yards per pass. Texans outscored by 27 points despite 6-3 record. Houston allowed just 22 passes of 20-plus yards, tied for second fewest. Houston averaging league-low 4.9 yards per play; Oakland allows league-high 6.4 yards per play. Raiders DE Khalil Mack sacked Osweiler five times last year when Osweiler played in Denver. Raiders' Derek Carr has 155 straight passes without INT. Oakland seeks first four-game win streak since 2002.

Times wires

Comments
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Updated: 1 hour ago
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Published: 04/22/18
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

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Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Published: 04/22/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

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Published: 04/21/18
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Published: 04/20/18
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Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

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Published: 04/20/18
Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

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Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Published: 04/19/18