Saturday, February 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Week 4 preview capsules

Colts vs. Jaguars (London), 9:30 a.m.

Line/OU: Colts by 2; 49

The Jaguars are lacking when it comes to wins and have sometimes struggled to get fans in their home stadium in Jacksonville, but how many teams can claim to have an 84,000-seat pied-à-terre in London that, according to BBC News, had the most toilets (2,618) of any venue in the world when it opened. The NFL's games in London have been a financial success, but for the Jaguars, they have mostly provided a second place to lose. The team's record at Wembley Stadium is 1-2, and it has been outscored there, 104-61.

Bills at Patriots, 1

Line/OU: Patriots by 7; 43½

With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo injured, the Patriots turned to Jacoby Brissett, the rookie out of N.C. State via UF, who recorded the longest rushing TD by a Patriots QB since 1976 on the way to a 27-0 victory over the Texans. But Brissett had a potentially serious thumb injury. "One thing I know for sure is that Tom Brady is not the quarterback, and I feel good about that," Bills coach Rex Ryan said. Everyone in Pats camp has been mum about the plan at QB this week, prompting speculation that WR Julian Edelman — New England's emergency option — might get a start there. Stay tuned.

Browns at Redskins, 1

Line/OU: Redskins by 7½; 47

It's hard to say how the Browns will lose this week. A safety caused by a Browns player running the wrong way into the team's own end zone? Being forced to forfeit after the team boards the wrong bus and ends up on a tour of the National Mall? Having Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense carve up the inept Cleveland defense seems too simple with the way this season has been going.

Lions at Bears (0-3), 1

Line/OU: Lions by 3; 48½

There was some optimism that Marvin Jones could thrive if given the opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver, but signing as a free agent with Detroit meant he would have to do it in the shadow of the retired Calvin Johnson. Through Detroit's first three games, Jones has 408 receiving yards, which not only leads the NFL through three weeks by a wide margin but is also more than Johnson or any other Lions receiver has ever had at this point in a season.

Raiders at Ravens, 1

Line/OU: Ravens by 3½; 46

Baltimore's 3-0 start is a pleasant surprise, but expectations should be adjusted for the fact that the team has outscored its opponents by only a combined 13 points and it's not exactly playing stiff competition (opponents' cumulative record is 1-8). The Raiders, meanwhile, have won twice on the road, and Derek Carr is proving that his emergence as a franchise QB is not an illusion. Baltimore will be able to attack Carr at nearly full strength with LB Elvis Dumervil expected to make his season debut. Oakland has so many options on offense that it should be able to get plays off quickly and win on the road again.

Panthers at Falcons, 1

Line/OU: Panthers by 3; 51

It was easy to write off Carolina's opening loss as a product of good (occasionally illegal) defense by Denver. The bad start was largely forgotten after the Panthers rebounded to rout San Francisco in Week 2. But then Minnesota easily dispatched Carolina in Week 3, and the Panthers, who seemed unbeatable going into last season's Super Bowl, suddenly had a losing record. The Panthers have three relatively easy games in terms of opponents' defense and then a bye week, but there should be concern about the team's Week 8 matchup with Arizona.

Seahawks at Jets, 1

Line/OU: Seahawks by 2; 39

Russell Wilson is turning into the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. First, he had his right ankle crushed by Dolphins DT Ndamukong Suh in Week 1, then he had his left knee crumple under him in Week 3. The Seahawks QB relies on his mobility to create opportunities as a passer, so while he is scheduled to start today, he's probably looking forward to the Week 5 bye. Seattle is likely to rely on RB Christine Michael to carry the team's offense, but it might not need many points as Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Jets is the kind of QB whom Seattle's Legion of Boom secondary eats for breakfast.

Titans at Texans, 1

Line/OU: Texans by 4; 40½

Losing DE J.J. Watt for an extended period because of an aggravated back injury certainly is not good news for Houston, but the team's defense has tormented opposing QBs this season despite Watt not being able to play anywhere close to his typical ability. Watt's absence gives Jadeveon Clowney an excellent opportunity to prove he was worthy of being the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014.

Cowboys at 49ers, 4:25

Line/OU: Cowboys by 2; 44½

Let's check in on coach Chip Kelly of the 49ers, known for his exciting offenses: "I characterize the offense as okay," he said of his team, which is averaging 175.3 yards a game in the air and has converted only 34.8 percent of third-down opportunities. Even with stars such as Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and La'el Collins sidelined, the Cowboys should be able to outscore the 49ers' anemic offense and keep their hot streak going.

Rams at Cardinals, 4:25

Line/OU: Cardinals by 8; 43

The Rams, who did not have a touchdown in weeks 1 or 2, finally figured out where the end zone was last week and beat the Bucs 37-32. The Cardinals, meanwhile, fell apart against Buffalo, with Carson Palmer throwing four INTs that enabled the Bills to run up 33 points despite the team's having only 88 net passing yards. Either of those things repeating this week would be shocking, as the Rams offense hardly seems capable of scoring against Arizona, and Palmer is too talented to bury his team two weeks in a row.

Saints at Chargers, 4:25

Line/OU: Chargers by 4; 53½

The ready-made story line is Drew Brees returning to San Diego for the first time since the Chargers cast him aside in favor of Philip Rivers after Brees injured his shoulder. Their fears were unfounded as Brees immediately began one of the greatest periods of productivity for a QB in league history. The more important story is the inability of the Saints defense to challenge opposing teams, which will spell trouble against Rivers, even if San Diego seems to lose key players almost every week.

Chiefs at Steelers, 8:30

Line/OU: Steelers by 4; 47

DeAngelo Williams has done an incredible job filling in for the suspended Le'Veon Bell through the first three weeks, which should sound familiar since he did the same thing for Bell in the first two weeks last season. There is talk again of the two running backs sharing carries, and QB Ben Roethlisberger even suggested Bell might see time at WR. Considering Bell was favored to the point of 137 touches to Williams' 27 in the six games they both played in last season, people should probably view all of that talk with a grain of salt.

Giants at Vikings, 8:30 Monday

Line/OU: Vikings by 4½; 42½

Vikings have won five of past seven in series. Giants have seven turnovers and only one takeaway. Uncertainty abounds at RB for Giants, with Shane Vereen (triceps) out for season and Rashad Jennings (thumb) having missed last game. Orleans Darkwa, former Buc Bobby Rainey and rookie Paul Perkins are next in line. Vikings lead NFL in turnover margin (plus-8) and sacks (15). Giants are so short of players in the secondary that rookie coach Ben McAdoo had to have a couple of his receivers play safety in practice this week.

Times wires

Comments
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Published: 02/16/18
Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

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Published: 02/16/18
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Published: 02/15/18
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Published: 02/15/18
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Published: 02/14/18
Derrick Brooks to sign autographs at sub shop for charity

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Updated: 02/13/18
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Bucs D-line coach name to watch: former Colts DC Ted Monachino

The surprising firing of defensive line coach Jay Hayes on Friday is one that was difficult for Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.Not only had the Bucs picked up  the one-year club option on Hayes' contract, he and Koetter go back nearly 40 years when the...
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