Sunday, May 27, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saturday NFL playoff previews: Seahawks-Falcons; Texans-Patriots

NFC: Seahawks (11-5-1) at Falcons (11-5), 4:35

TV/radio: Fox; 102.5-FM

Line/OU: Falcons by 4; 51½

Former Buc Matt Bryant's 49-yard FG with eight seconds left gave Falcons 30-28 division playoff win over Seahawks on Jan. 13, 2013. Seattle RB Thomas Rawls, who missed 26-24 regular-season win over Falcons on Oct. 16 with leg injury, rushed for franchise postseason-record 161 yards with TD against Lions last week. Without Rawls, Seahawks had only 72 rushing against Falcons. Seattle has only one postseason win with less than 100 yards rushing under coach Pete Carroll. Russell Wilson's 64 wins, including postseason, are most for starting QB in first five seasons in NFL history. Wilson's 8-3 in 11 postseason starts. Doug Baldwin has team-record 50 postseason catches, including 11 for 104 yards with TD last week. TE Jimmy Graham has eight TD catches in past 10 games against Falcons. A loss ends Falcons' 25-year stay in Georgia Dome. New Mercedes-Benz Stadium to open next season. Atlanta's Dan Quinn, former Seattle defensive coordinator, makes postseason debut as coach in second season with team. Atlanta has lost five of past six playoff games. Matt Ryan's 117.1 passer rating led NFL and was fifth best in league history, but he's 1-4 in playoffs. Julio Jones second in NFL with 1,409 yards receiving despite missing two games with toe injury. Second-year LB Vic Beasley led league with 15½ sacks. LB Deion Jones (106) and former Gator S Keanu Neal (105) led NFL rookies in tackles. Atlanta held four of past six opponents under 20 points. Atlanta WR Taylor Gabriel's seven TDs, including one rushing, were one more than All-Pro Jones. Gabriel had five TD catches in past six games.

AFC: Texans (10-7) at Patriots (14-2), 8:15

TV/radio: CBS; 102.5-FM

Line/OU: Patriots by 15½; 44

Patriots are 4-0 at home against Texans. New England has won past five games between teams. Houston's defense allowing 301.3 total yards and 17 first downs per game, fewest in NFL in both. DE Jadeveon Clowney had INT in his first career playoff game last week. Including playoffs, he has four tackles for loss, three sacks, INT and forced fumble in past four games. LB Whitney Mercilus had two sacks and three tackles for loss in last week's win over Raiders. He has five sacks and six tackles for loss in past two playoff games. Lamar Miller rushed for TD last week, looking for fourth straight game with rushing TD. Patriots' Bill Belichick will coach 14th division playoff game and tie Don Shula for most in NFL history. He has 23 postseason wins, most of any coach. QB Tom Brady will play in 13th division playoff game, tying Jerry Rice for most in history. Brady has 22 career playoff wins, most for QB in history. Former Buc LeGarrette Blount led NFL with franchise-record 18 rushing TDs in regular season but has been slowed by an illness this week. He is expected to play. Offense put up big numbers without Brady in Week 3 27-0 shutout at home of Texans.

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Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Published: 05/26/18
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

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Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Published: 05/25/18
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Published: 05/25/18
Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

TAMPA — If the first few days of OTAs are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"A lot of interceptions,'' coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday' afte...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Published: 05/24/18
Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

The dust has settled from another NFL draft, and Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made three promotions in his scouting department as a new year of player evaluation begins.Byron Kiefer, entering his 14th season with the Bucs and fourth as a nati...
Published: 05/24/18