Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Week 9: Previews, predictions

This season we've asked Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones and readers to forecast the NFL results. To make your picks, go to tampabay.com/bucs:

Packers at Panthers, 1

Line/OU: Packers by 3; 46½ Packers' Aaron Rodgers held to 77 yards passing last week by Broncos, lowest mark of career in noninjury game. Eddie Lacy and James Starks both had rushing TDs vs. Carolina in last meeting. Green Bay second in NFC with 23 sacks. Panthers have won 11 straight regular-season games. QB Cam Newton has 28 games with passing and rushing touchdown, second-most in NFL history. Jonathan Stewart has rushed for 285 yards and three TDs in past three games. TE Greg Olsen has four TDs in past five games.

Jones PICK: Packers 19, Panthers 17 Readers: Packers 53.8 percent

Redskins at Patriots, 1

Line/OU: Patriots by 14; 52 Redskins 1-10 on road under coach Jay Gruden. Team hasn't won consecutive games since midway through last season. TE Jordan Reed has emerged as QB Kirk Cousins' favorite target, especially in red zone; in most recent game, vs. Bucs, Reed had career-high 11 catches, including pair of TDs. Patriots are 7-0 for second time in club history. Tom Brady leads NFL in fourth-quarter passer rating at 143.5, with seven TDs, zero INTs, 76.7 completion percentage. TE Rob Gronkowski's seven TDs lead AFC and are tied for second-most in NFL.

Jones: Patriots 40, Redskins 20 Readers: Patriots 97.4 percent

Raiders at Steelers, 1

Line/OU: Steelers by 5; 48 Raiders looking to be over .500 at season's midway point for first time since 2001. S Charles Woodson grabbed his 65th interception last week, tying him with former FAMU and Bengals CB Ken Riley for fifth on NFL's all-time list. Steelers' Antonio Brown needs 23 yards receiving to become fifth player in franchise history with 6,000 in career. Ben Roethlisberger has career QB rating of 88.0 in November, lowest of any month, and he's 9-10 against AFC West, only division he has losing record against. DeAngelo Williams is averaging 4.9 yards per carry and will get heavy workload with Le'Veon Bell out for year.

Jones: Steelers 28, Raiders 17 Readers: Steelers 64.1 percent

Dolphins at Bills, 1

Line/OU: Bills by 2½; 44 In three games since Dan Campbell took over as interim coach, Dolphins have combined for 443 yards rushing; totaled 277 in first four games before Joe Philbin was fired. Defense has allowed 229 yards rushing in past three after giving up 642 in first four. DE Derrick Shelby expected to start with Cameron Wake to miss remainder of season with torn Achilles tendon. Bills have losing record through seven games for ninth time since 2004. QB Tyrod Taylor set to return after missing two games with sprained left knee. TE Charles Clay had 82 yards receiving and TD in first meeting against Dolphins, and he has had best games with Taylor at QB.

Jones: Bills 20, Dolphins 16 Readers: Bills 59 percent

Titans at Saints, 1

Line/OU: Saints by 7½; 48 Former Gators TE Mike Mularkey debuts as Titans' interim coach after firing of Ken Whisenhunt. Titans have intercepted eight passes, tied for seventh in league, but have thrown eight. Saints' Drew Brees tied NFL record for single-game TD passes with seven last week. TE Benjamin Watson has 333 yards receiving and two TDs in past three games. DE Cameron Jordan has 15 sacks in past 19 home games and has five sacks, forced fumble and fumble recovery in past three. Mark Ingram ranks third among NFL running backs with 804 scrimmage yards; workload could rise after season-ending injury to Khiry Robinson.

Jones: Saints 33, Titans 15 Readers: Saints 97.4 percent

Jaguars at Jets, 1

Line/OU: Jets by 8; 42 Despite 2-5 mark, Jaguars half-game behind Indianapolis and Houston for first in AFC South, first time they're less than one game out after eight weeks since 2004. QB Blake Bortles has 15 TDs and trying for fourth straight game with two or more TD passes. The former UCF standout is one of three second-year QBs in NFL history to have 1,800 yards passing and 15-plus TD throws in first seven games, joining Kurt Warner (1999) and Dan Marino (1984). Allen Robinson (6) and Allen Hurns (5) have combined for 11 TD catches, most of any WR duo this season. RB T.J. Yeldon might have tough day against Jets' top-ranked run defense. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will start despite tearing ligament in left thumb last week. Chris Ivory ranks second in AFC with 518 yards rushing but has been held to 58 on 32 carries in past two games.

Jones: Jets 24, Jaguars 10 Readers: Jets 89.7 percent

Rams at Vikings, 1

Line/OU: Vikings by 1; 40½ Rams coach Jeff Fisher is 1-6 in career against Vikings. Rams' Todd Gurley is first rookie in NFL history with four straight games of 125-plus yards rushing. Rams tied for second in league with 26 sacks, led by DE Robert Quinn with five. Vikings have won six straight home games. RB Adrian Peterson has 350 yards and three TDs in three career games against Rams.

Jones: Rams 21, Vikings 20 Readers: Vikings 64.1 percent

Falcons at 49ers, 4

Line/OU: Falcons by 7; 44½ Falcons have lost two of three after starting 5-0. They have six turnovers and 17 penalties over past two games. Niners QB Blaine Gabbert makes first start since Week 5 of 2013 with Jacksonville as Colin Kaepernick benched. Team has no touchdowns in past two games and three in five. TE Vernon Davis traded to Denver on Monday. Gabbert has lost his past 10 starts since beating Indianapolis on Sept. 23, 2012, and his teams are 5-22 in his career as starter.

Jones: Falcons 24, 49ers 13 Readers: Falcons 84.6 percent

Broncos at Colts, 4:25

Line/OU: Broncos by 5½; 45 Broncos are 7-0 for second time in franchise history and are one of nine teams since 1970 merger to allow no first-quarter points through first seven games. Peyton Manning returns to Indy with chance to break Brett Favre's records for most regular-season wins (186) and yards passing (71,838). Manning needs 284 yards to become NFL's career leader. WR Demaryius Thomas can break Rod Smith's franchise record for 100-yard games (31). Indy is 3-0 vs. AFC South, 0-5 against all other divisions. Colts have lost three straight for first time since Chuck Pagano arrived in 2012. Andrew Luck has league-high 12 interceptions despite missing two games.

Jones: Broncos 21, Colts 9 Readers: Broncos 92.3 percent

Eagles at Cowboys, 8:30

Line/OU: Eagles by 3; 43½ Eagles lead NFL in takeaways with 19, and Cowboys are last with four. Eagles RB DeMarco Murray visits Dallas for first time since winning NFL rushing title with Cowboys. Dallas' Matt Cassel has 119.4 passer rating in two career starts against Eagles. RB Darren McFadden has 275 yards from scrimmage in past two games. WR Dez Bryant had six catches for 114 yards and career-high three TDs in last game against Eagles. Bryant plays second game since returning from foot injury.

Jones: Cowboys 19, Eagles 17 Readers: Eagles 64.1 percent

Bears at Chargers, 8:30 Monday

Line/OU: Chargers by 4; 49 Bears have won five of past six in series. Bears expected to be without RB Matt Forte and WR Eddie Royal. Both injured knees in loss to Vikings. If Forte is unavailable, rookie Jeremy Langford will carry bigger load. Chargers have been flexed out of Sunday night home game vs. Chiefs on Nov. 22. WR Keenan Allen placed on season-ending injured reserve after lacerating kidney. Philip Rivers leads NFL with 243 completions, 348 attempts, 2,753 yards, on pace to rewrite all of team's season passing records.

Jones: Chargers 23, Bears 17 Readers: Chargers 82.1 percent

Game text from Times wires. Bye week: Cardinals, Chiefs, Lions, Ravens, Seahawks, Texans

Comments
NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

ATLANTA — The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams enacted a new national anthem policy Wednesday designed, they said, to compel players to stand if they’re on the sideline for the playing of the anthem prior to a game."Clearly our objective as a leagu...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy, who handled the Bucs' kickoff and punt returns for much of last season, is back with Tampa Bay again.Reedy, 26, was signed on Wednesday, one day after the Bucs began OTA workouts. Thomas Sperbeck, the former Boise State r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

And you thought our headline would be "Mariota hosts NFL draft before Winston."The NFL owners are meeting in Atlanta this week, and that means a new batch of future Super Bowls getting announced for their homes.A year ago, Tampa got the huge news, an...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Published: 05/22/18
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Published: 05/22/18
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Published: 05/22/18
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Published: 05/22/18