Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-San Diego Chargers predictions from the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team

Greg Auman, @gregauman

Can the Bucs win their fourth straight? You won't confuse this with the defensive win against Seattle, but expect big plays and huge swings on turnovers. Don't underestimate what the 1-2 punch of Doug Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers can do in their first real game together, and can Brent Grimes possibly get an interception off Philip Rivers for the fourth year in a row? Prediction: Tampa Bay 34-27.

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics

The Bucs have won in San Diego only once, a 25-17 upset in 1996. The Yucks, as ESPN host Chris Berman called Tony Dungy's 2-8 team, had lost 19 of 20 games on the West Coast. A decade later, Tampa Bay is in the midst of a three-game winning streak, a run that we might one day describe as a turning point, a statement much like the 1996 win over the Chargers. These Bucs are getting better, but they will face bumps in the road. Philip Rivers, who is not Stan Humphries, will be one of them. Prediction: San Diego, 28-24.

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly

This the letdown game. Bucs fly across-country and run into a San Diego team with a deceiving 5-6 record, with Philip Rivers at quarterback, with a Chargers defense that is gaining steam with rookie pass rusher Joey Bosa, among others. This is going to be a tough test for the Bucs, and they'll come up short. They're due for one of those games. Prediction: San Diego 31-20.

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you

What's that? Gerald McCoy is banged up? The Bucs must muster a pass rush to force turnovers and stifle Philip Rivers. Without McCoy, the task will grow more difficult. With McCoy, it's still too tall of an order. Prediction: San Diego 28-21

Tom Jones, @tomwjones

Bucs are playing their best ball of the season having won three in a row, but traveling out west against good teams has always been something of a chore for these guys. With QB Philip Rivers, the Chargers have the best offense Tampa Bay has faced in a month. That will be the difference. Prediction: San Diego 24-21.

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud

The only reason for this pick is momentum. The Bucs have it. They are 4-1 on the road this season. But injuries to Gerald McCoy and the loss of Chris Conte could be big factors against a quarterback like the Chargers Philip Rivers. Prediction: Tampa Bay 24-17.

Comments
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Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

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